New England Patriots: One Player from Each Team the Patriots Wish They Had
Every team has players on other teams they wish were their own. Sometimes they end up getting that player through trades or free agency and other times they remain a pipe dream.
This article will look at one player from the other 31 teams that the Patriots wish they had on their roster. In some cases, it will based on fit for the scheme or position need; in other cases it will simply be because of talent. In all cases it will be a player that would help the team win another Super Bowl.
The only position that will not be considered is quarterback because, quite frankly, every other team with one or two exceptions wishes they had the Patriots quarterback calling signals for them.
And now, the list...
Buffalo Bills: Kyle Williams
A talent pick for sure as the Patriots already have Vince Wilfork at the nose, but his versatility allows him to play all over the defensive line.
Williams would add depth to the line as well allowing for Wilfork to move around. It will also allow them to use a 4-3 which they do on occasion to great effect. With Wilfork and Williams at the defensive tackles taking up space and blockers, this would allow Jerod Mayo to roam free and make tackle after tackle.
Miami Dolphins: Cameron Wake
Wake would be the pass-rushing outside linebacker the Patriots have been looking for since they traded Mike Vrabel. He would be everything that Adalius Thomas was supposed to be but never was.
Belichick would have a field day lining Wake up all over the field, on and off the line. He is also a player that would be on the coach's radar as he has given the Patriots some trouble in the past and Belichick loves to get those guys on his team, a la Wes Welker.
Cameron Wake is another guy with a chip on his shoulder, having to prove himself in the CFL before making it in the NFL, and he is a guy that would fill in that missing piece on the Pats D.
New York Jets: Darrelle Revis
Imagine Darelle Revis and Devin McCourty teaming up to shut down opposing receivers. It would likely be the top corner tandem in the league and would help mask the pass-rushing hole the team currently has.
It would also make Patrick Chung and Brandon Meriweather significantly more effective. For Chung, who has struggled in coverage, he would be able to focus on his strength, tackling running backs. For Meriweather, it would play into his freelancing style as he could trust the corners to cover their men and look to make the big play without as much risk of getting burned.
Of course, it pains any Patriots fan to admit they wish any Jet were on their team but in the case of Revis. it has to be said.
Baltimore Ravens: Haloti Ngata
It was tough to pick between Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, but Ngata gets the nod because he is the youngest of the three. Ngata's versatility would would make the Patriots defensive line one of the best around.
With the return of Ty Warren at one end, Ngata and Wilfork could play either end or over the nose. Offenses would have nightmares trying to figure out which guy would line up where and when.
Ngata would also be another player who would allow for the use of the 4-3 as well and his size in the 3-4 or the 4-3 would leave Brandon Spikes and Mayo to clean up any running backs unlucky enough to be carrying the ball against them.
Cincinatti Bengals: Keith Rivers
Looking at the Bengals roster, they were even worse than I remembered. However, adding Keith Rivers to the Patriots linebacker rotation would be solid. As we found out last year with the gap created by Brandon Spikes' suspension, you can never have too many linebackers.
Adding Rivers to help spell Spikes and Gary Guyton would make for a rested and ready complement to Jerod Mayo on the inside.
Though Rivers does not bring much that Spikes and Guyton do not already have, he would simply add talented depth that could help out, especially if there were an injury.
Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas
A franchise left tackle with the ability to protect the Patriots franchise, Tom Brady, for years to come, Joe Thomas would be perfect for the team.
A starter from his first game Thomas could replace the possibly departing Matt Light and make for an incredible left side of the line if Logan Mankins returns. It would also give Brady solid protection all over as he would be opposite the up-and-coming Sebastian Vollmer.
Simply put, Joe Thomas is a stud and every team wants him because of his ability to protect the most important man on the field.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu
Probably the best defensive player in the game right now. Certainly the defensive player who makes the biggest impact on his team's performance in football today; the Steelers are a different team when he is out.
Polamalu is the playmaker Brandon Meriweather wishes he was. With him on the team, the Pats would have one safety slot locked down. They could then rotate the Meriweather, Patrick Chung and James Sanders through on the other side depending on the situation.
With Polamalu their secondary would be at the top of the league and Belichick would love to play around with him, moving him around and creating confusion for other teams' quarterbacks.
Houston Texans: Andre Johnson
"Tom Brady to Andre Johnson" has a nice ring to it. It would be one of the few combinations that could surpass the Brady-to-Randy Moss juggernaut.
Johnson is younger than Moss was when he joined the Patriots, so he would not fade into oblivion as fast as Moss did. He also does not have the attitude and behavioral history of Moss, so his motivation would not be questioned.
Johnson would put the explosiveness back into the Pats offense that would perhaps allow Brady to challenge 50 touchdown passes again and create a virtually unstoppable group.
Indianapolis Colts: Dwight Freeney
Dwight Freeney would immediately legitimize the Patriots pass rush, bringing the potential for double-digit sacks every year. His pass rush would immediately help the secondary, giving quarterbacks less time to throw.
Freeney has received some criticism for his ability to stop the run, however it seems that comes from the fact that he is not asked to do that. If he focused on stopping the run by tweaking his style of play, he would likely be effective in that aspect of the game.
Freeney is the type of pass-rushing defensive end the Patriots have never really had under Bill Belichick. His presence would expand how they could scheme defensively and make them much better.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew
Give Tom Brady a legitimate star in the backfield and it is a recipe for a championship. We saw it with Corey Dillon in 2004 and we would see it again if Jones-Drew joined the Patriots.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a solid back who rushed for 1,000 yards last year but he is effective partially because of the threat of the passing game. If the running game was also a threat to take over and win a game, the passing game would only get better too.
Jones-Drew is a wrecking ball that flattens defenders. He would fit into the Patriots' style of running which, with Logan Mankins, is a "line up and knock the other guy back" approach; with Jones-Drew, it would be devastating.
Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson
As a rule, you should always want a guy that has the potential to rush for 2,000 yards in a season on your team. That is exactly what Chris Johnson brings to the table; his incredible explosiveness would give the Patriots the potential to score on the ground from anywhere on the field.
He is also a receiving threat out of the backfield which Tom Brady loves as seen in Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk over the years.
Johnson is just to talented to pass on and would bring a whole new dynamic to the Patriots offense that would make them significantly better than last season.
Denver Broncos: Elvis Dumervil
If 2009 was an indication of the player Elvis Dumervil really is, then any team would be lucky to have him. With 17 sacks and 12.5 sacks in 2007, he would provide the pass rusher off the edge the Pats sorely lack.
He missed all of last year with a torn pectoral so the status of his recovery is essential to determine whether or not he can return to form.
Dumervil should recover from injury and be a force rushing the passer, and he is another player that Belichick would have a field day with.
Kansas City Chiefs: Tamba Hali
Since Scott Pioli moved to Kansas City, they have been scooping up former Patriots from players to coaches. The Patriots would get a lot if they could poach Tamba Hali from their former employee.
Still only 27, Hali is entering his prime and can line up on or off the line. He can bring the pass rush and forces his fair share of fumbles.
With Belichick moving him around, Hali would take that next step from up-and-comer to bona fide superstar who would be a staple of the Patriots defense and a real playmaker.
Oakland Raiders: Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha is a player the Patriots would love to have, and quite frankly, he would probably love to be on another team. Though the Raiders showed great improvement last season, they have not been good in almost a decade and the front-office turmoil has to be frustrating for players.
Bringing Asomugha to New England would give them a terrifying cornerback tandem teaming him with Devin McCourty. The two of them would lock down the outside and help the pass rush as quarterbacks would not be able to find open receivers.
Asomugha would also bring a quality presence into the locker room as he is widely regarded as one of the good guys in the NFL, being well known for his philanthropic pursuits.
San Diego Chargers: Shaun Phillips
Another pass-rushing player that the Patriots would love to have coming off their defensive end. He can stand up or put an arm on the ground with equal effect.
A big upside with Phillips is his consistency. He is not super flashy and does not grab the headlines, but he has been a key cog in the Chargers defense for years.
Phillips would be versatile in the Patriots defense, lining up all over the field and making plays that would change games for the better.
Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware
Besides being extremely talented DeMarcus Ware is also very tough. There is no need to look further than 2009, when he suffered what looked like a devastating neck injury. What may have knocked other players out for a couple weeks did not force Ware to miss a game.
Another extremely versatile defender Ware could line up at end or linebacker. He would bring veteran leadership to the team as well as setting an example with his toughness.
Ware would be there week in and week out playing through whatever came his way, and would bring game-breaking ability to the Patriots.
New York Giants: Justin Tuck
The Patriots offensive line, Tom Brady and their fans are still having nightmares about the way Justin Tuck terrorized them in Super Bowl XLII. What better way to make up for that than to bring him onto their team and have him help them win Super Bowl XLVI?
Tuck recorded two sacks and a forced a fumble in the Super Bowl coming at Brady from all angles including up the middle. It did not matter where he lined up; he was in the backfield causing problems.
Justin Tuck's ability to do whatever the coaching staff asks of him, and do it effectively, were put on display on football's biggest stage and there is no reason to believe if he came to New England things would be any different.
Philidelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson is just too explosive to pass up. He can literally score at anytime in a game from anywhere in the field. Even when he makes a mistake as he did against the Giants by muffing the punt, he is athletic enough to make up for it and make a game-winning play.
The Patriots need a deep threat and Jackson is probably the purest speed receiver going right now. There is not a defender who can match him stride for stride and with Brady's deep ball, the combination could be legendary.
Jackson is also a huge contributor on special teams with his punt return skills. Julian Edelman is a nice punt returner but Jackson is a once-in-a-lifetime talent that any team would love back there, a constant threat to take it all the way.
Washington Redskins: London Fletcher
London Fletcher is the consummate professional—a player who could bring a Roman Phifer-type presence to the field and locker room. All the guy does is play and make tackles.
Teaming him up with Jerod Mayo inside would make it nearly impossible for running backs to get past the line of scrimmage let alone into the open. He could also teach Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Gary Guyton a lot about how to play the position well for a long time in the league.
Fletcher would almost be like a coach out on the field organizing the other players in the best ways to make plays. He commands the respect of his teammate and would bring a lot to the table on and off the field.
Chicago Bears: Julius Peppers
There was a lot of talk that the Patriots would pursue Julius Peppers last offseason, but ultimately, he ended up in Chicago. He was a player I thought was overrated and would be overpaid, however after the difference he made last season with the Bears, I have changed my tune.
Peppers is a tenacious, relentless pass-rusher who can also make plays in the running game. He can overwhelm any offensive lineman at any point in the game and can shut his side down for the other team.
Looking back, adding Peppers would have been an enormous thing for the Patriots last season. However, he did not come to New England, so now he goes on the wish list.
Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson is the type of receiver that can get open in any circumstance. He catches all kinds of passes and is a huge red-zone threat.
Adding Johnson would be like bringing in a younger Randy Moss who will go over the middle and not disrupt the locker room.
Another receiver who would radically change the Patriots offense, his combination with Tom Brady would go down as one of the best.
Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews
The Patriots passed on Clay Matthews in the 2009 draft to trade down and out of the first round. They ended up with Patrick Chung, who looks like he will be a solid player, but Matthews is already a superstar in the league.
In hindsight, they should have taken Matthews, as he would have solved their pass-rushing issues instantly. It is one case where draft genius Bill Belichick made a pretty big mistake.
Matthews is the gem of the wish list because of his talent and youth, as well as the fact that many with the Patriots probably wish they could go back and draft him.
Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson is probably the best all-around running back in the league today. He can break big runs but he is also consistent and rarely loses yards.
His one glaring issue is the fact that he fumbles a lot. Luckily this is a fixable problem if he puts his mind to it, as evidenced by Tiki Barber's ability to turn his fumblitis around.
The Patriots offense would be remarkable with Peterson running the ball and Brady throwing it. Stop the pass and Peterson would gash you; stop the run and Brady will throw it all over the place—either way you lose.
Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White
The Falcons presented some real issues when deciding who to pick. Michael Turner would certainly be a great addition, as well as Curtis Lofton or John Abraham.
Ultimately, I chose Roddy White because of who would be throwing to him. White really came into his own when he got a quarterback who could play at a high level in Matt Ryan. As good as Ryan has been, White teamed up with Brady would be even better.
Roddy White brings a deep threat as well as quality route-running that is rare to find in a receiver. Teaming him with Brady would be a deadly duo.
Carolina Panthers: Jon Beason
Jon Beason is really all that the Carolina Panthers have going for them. He is tremendous tackler and teamed up with Jerod Mayo on the inside would make up, probably the best one-two punch at the position in the league.
He is a bit more of a big-play threat then Mayo, which is something the Patriots need. He has the potential to get some interceptions and break up the passing patterns of other teams.
In short, Beason is the type of player you can build a defense around. Put him on a defense that has talent around him and he could explode as a real NFL superstar.
New Orleans Saints: Jahri Evans
Many people consider Jahri Evans or Logan Mankins to be the top two guards in the league today. If the Patriots end up losing Mankins, Evans would be the ideal replacement.
If they kept Mankins and had Evans, they would have a solid wall up the middle protecting Tom Brady and opening holes for the running game.
Guard is a very difficult position to play, as it requires a combination of agility and strength that is hard to find. For that reason, it is never wise to pass on a top guard, so Evans is no-brainer for the Pats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Barret Ruud
Barrett Ruud has a nonstop motor and terrific work ethic. He is not the biggest, fastest or strongest but he is always in the thick of it.
He is a top player on the up-and-coming Buccaneers team that would fit in with the Patriots linebackers and make tackles all over the field.
It is also worth noting that his brother, Bo Ruud, was drafted by the Patriots in 2008 so Belichick has shown some prior interest in the Ruud family.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald is one of the top receivers in the league and if the Cardinals do not get somebody who can throw him the ball, then they owe it football fans to give him to a team who can use him. The Patriots are such a team, as nobody is better at throwing the ball than Tom Brady.
Fitzgerald can go deep and over the middle and truly is an all-around player. He is also a clutch performer; he comes up biggest when it matters most, as evidenced by his record-breaking run in the 2008 playoffs that almost paid off with a Super Bowl championship.
I have said it for all the receivers in this list but I must reiterate: If you give Brady a player of this caliber, it will be frightening to see how good they do together.
St. Louis Rams: Steven Jackson
Leading up to the 2004 NFL draft, there was a lot of talk that the Patriots might take Steven Jackson. Instead, they filled their running back hole by trading for Corey Dillon, which obviously paid off with a Super Bowl championship.
Jackson is an absolute workhorse who can carry the ball as many times as needed in a game. He would be able to run inside and outside, consistently picking up yardage and breaking some big runs along the way.
The Patriots have already had a running back who wore No. 39 and had dreadlocks—and we all know how well that ended. However, the similarities with Laurence Maroney would end there as he would be the No. 1 back they have desired since Dillon left.
San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis
Flat out, Patrick Willis is the best linebacker in the NFL today. He does it all, tackles anything that moves, forces pressure and can make plays all over the field.
He and Jerod Mayo on the inside would create a middle of the defense that could go down as one of the best of all time, not just today.
In short, Patrick Willis would instantly be the second-best player on the Patriots after Tom Brady and is good enough to turn an up-and-coming defense into a defense that has arrived.
Seattle Seahawks: Sean Locklear
It is almost impossible to believe, after going through their roster, that the Seahawks not only won their division last year but that they also won a playoff game.
This was probably the hardest team to choose a player from. I went with Locklear because he is a solid player who has been doing it for a while now. He would also be a more than serviceable replacement if Matt Light leaves and Nate Solder is not ready yet.
For the Seahawks, it really came down to who could possibly fit—I do not even know, though, if Locklear would start on the Patriots next season.