Cornerback Market Growing By the Minute: Might the New England Patriots Partake?

Randy LutzCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Lito Sheppard #26 of the New York Jets evades a tackle by Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills after intercepting Fitzpatrick's pass during the game on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bills defeated the Jets 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

With their well-documented need for a cornerback, the Patriots were likely thrilled to hear the news that the cornerback free agent market has grown over the past few hours.

In this very weak free agent class, the cornerback position may actually have grown into becoming the strongest position available.

Within the past two hours, both Lito Sheppard (Jets) and Phillip Buchanon (Lions) have been released by their respective teams.  This adds to cornerbacks such as Dunta Robinson (Texans), and Leigh Bodden (Patriots) who have already been either released or just have not been resigned by their former teams and are available for hire.

One thing is for sure and that is the Patriots need help in a lot of areas, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  Leading up to tonight the Patriots have only been in the process of creating more holes, with the release or reluctance to resign several players from last year's team.  

Now I'm aware that the Patriots have four picks in the first two rounds of the upcoming draft, but at most you can fill four spots with those four picks, and their other picks aren't until later rounds so I don't expect a lot of those guys to even make the team, let alone contribute right away.

The cornerback market would be a good one to look into if you're the Patriots in order to fill some of those needs.  Signing a guy like Dunta Robinson as well as a guy like Lito Sheppard could significantly boost your pass defense. 

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Add in one or two of the promising young pass rushers available in this year's draft (maybe Graham, Sapp, Kindle, Hughes, or Griffen along with Misi or Dunlap or someone like that in the second round and you've transformed what last year was a very mediocre defense.  Grab a guy like Jeff Owens in the fourth round (if he lasts that long) and you've added some serious depth to a line that was hurting for just that many times throughout the season last year.  

On top of that you could probably sign every single guy I just mentioned for about the same amount it'll take to sign Julius Peppers, and I think if not immediately, in the long term signing all those other guys would be a lot better (not all the pass rushers, but maybe two of them-too much of anything isn't great).

Any thoughts Patriots fans?  I say bring in Lito and Jones, do what the Jets are dying to do with Adalius and have done so many times in the past (ahem, Sam Gash, Curtis Martin, etc, etc).