Draft Needs – 2012

Draft Needs: New England Patriots

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New England Patriots [full archive here].

Season Recap: The Patriots, once again, were one of the best teams in the league, and had it not been for a dropped pass, a fourth Super Bowl ring could easily be resting on Tom Brady’s pinky finger (middle or index, for that matter). The most interesting aspect of the Patriots 2011 season is the fact they did so well while giving up the 2nd most yards allowed. With a revamped defense this offseason; New England very may be the favorites in 2012.

Team Needs:
1. Wide Receiver: Even with the recent franchise tag on Wes Welker, New England simply needs more options. The stud duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski would be even more dangerous with a vertical deep threat to open up the outside. The Patriots have a plethora of options to solving this problem. New England has 6 picks in the first four rounds, with four selections in the first and second round alone! The best move may be to give up pick 31 for Mike Wallace, who was tendered for a first round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace would give Brady perhaps the best deep threat in the game. If New England decides against Wallace, they can choose from Desean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Reggie Wayne, or Robert Meachem. Not too shabby.

2. Defensive End: Andre Carter exceeded expectations as a 32 year old, low-signing free agent, recording 10 sacks in 14 games. Carter is coming off a torn Quadriceps tendon, and is a scheduled free agent. Even if he does return to form, the Patriots need a difference maker. Mario Williams dominated in his first five games in the 3-4 defense before a season ending injury, and could be headed to New England. That would be scary.

3. Strong Safety: Patrick Chung is set at FS, but the Patriots need to find him a counterpart. James Ihedigbo played serviceable, but is a scheduled free agent and is better suited as a backup. Laron Landry is a free agent and when healthy is one of the better strong safeties in the league.

4. Outside Linebacker: The Patriots toiled between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense in 2011, but with All-Pro NT Vince Wilfork in the middle, the 3-4 is the better option. Mario Williams could fill this role with ease, but if New England wants a cheaper option they could fill the void in the early rounds. Andre Branch and Bruce Irvin are names to keep an eye on.

5. Cornerback: New England dealt with numerous injuries at the CB position and were forced to play WR Julian Edelman in the slot for most of the season. Waiver wire pickup Sterling Moore played brilliantly in the playoffs, but is not proven enough to be counted on for 2012. Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan are the top free agent corners available. Brandon Boykin, a corner from Georgia, will be in heavy consideration for one of the Patriots two first round selections.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Needs - 2012, Patriots 1 Comment

Draft Needs: New York Giants

Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the New York Giants.

Season Recap:
The Giants overcame late season struggles and fought their way through the playoffs to claim a fourth Super Bowl title. Eli Manning elevated himself to the elite level and a big part of that was the sudden emergence of WR Victor Cruz, who played like one of the top receivers in the league. The Giants have a target on their back for 2012 as the defending champs.

Team Needs:
1. Tight End- Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski showed how big of an impact a stud tight end has on the defense. Jake Ballard, Travis Beckum, and Bear Pascoe did a decent job of shouldering the load, but the Giants number one priority should be getting Eli Manning a difference maker at the position. Coby Fleener or Dwayne Allen should be in consideration at pick 32.

2. Right Tackle- Kareem McKenzie is a free agent and it looks as if he wont be back with the G-Men in 2012. The Giants need to find a new starting tackle and could find their guy in the first two rounds.

3. Offensive Guard- Diehl, Snee, and Boothe played well in 2012 but the Giants need to get some more depth and youth.

4. Outside Linebacker- With the potential departure of DE Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka could be moving back to DE, which would create an opening at OLB. The Giants should add an OLB in free agency.

5. Inside Linebacker- Jonathon Goff and Chase Blackburn are scheduled to become free agents, leaving an uncertainty at the position. Goff is coming off an injury but played well as the starter in 2010. Both players should be resigned for 2012.

Posted on by Matt Peterson in Draft Needs - 2012 Comments Off