2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis - New England Patriots

By Matt McGuire

Matt will be reviewing each team's 2009 Pre-Draft Analysis by talking about the draft range of targeted players.

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New England Patriots

We all know how good the Patriots are in the 2009 season depends on the health of Tom Brady's knee. It is doubtful that Kevin O'Connell could turn in a Matt Cassel-like performance as a second-year pro out of San Diego State.

The rest of the Pats roster looks completely stacked. Defensive back help was needed; Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs should deliver. The running game should be improved with the addition of Fred Taylor. All of these free-agent signings eliminate needs for the Patriots, who look to be the clear favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

Let's get right to their draft range with the No. 23 overall pick:

Outside Linebacker: Mike Vrabel's play was falling off this past season and he was traded to Kansas City. A replacement is needed opposite Adalius Thomas. Everette Brown, Aaron Maybin, Larry English, and Clint Sintim could all be first-round options. I feel like Clay Matthews will be gone at this point, selected by the Texans at No. 15 overall. However, if they pass New England should be interested.

Rey Maualuga: Jerod Mayo won Defensive Rookie of the Year, but the Pats might want to add a younger linebacker. I think this is less likely because Gary Guyton had an adequately productive rookie season. Maualuga is the perfect fit in the 3-4 defense, so he might be in the discussions.

The second-round range presents the Pats with so many options. They might want to trade a pick to grab a 2010 first rounder. Maybe they package picks to move up back into the first round. There is an unlimited amount of possibilities, but let's target their main needs.

Free Safety: Brandon Meriweather had a very good sophomore year, but a talented ballhawk next to him could lead to more coverage sacks. Utah's Sean Smith might be an ideal fit with his ball skills and 6-3 height. Rashad Johnson of Alabama has the elite intangibles Bill Belichick loves; Nick Saban said Johnson was the smartest player he has ever coached. Darcel McBath is going under a lot of radars among draftniks, but he has play-making ability with range.

Wide Receiver: I love Wes Welker and Randy Moss - don't get me wrong - but a young receiver could keep this offense going once the veterans' careers die down. UNC's Hakeem Nicks, Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Oklahoma's Juaquin Iglesias all fit this offense in the second round as possession receivers.

Offensive Line: The Patriots love to draft offensive linemen who can play multiple positions. This is why I consider Oregon's all-versatile Max Unger to probably be rated highly by New England. He can play center, guard, or tackle. In their system, he can play any position. I also think Arkansas Jonathan Luigs and South Carolina's Jamon Meredith could be options in the second or third rounds.

The Patriots really do not have many needs, so expect them to make a few moves up in the draft on Day 1. They have the ammunition to add a few big-time impact rookies to their roster to make another Super Bowl run.

New England Patriots 2009 Offseason Needs

Matt McGuire's 2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis Archive:

2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Detroit Lions
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: St. Louis Rams
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Kansas City Chiefs
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Seattle Seahawks
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Cleveland Browns
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Oakland Raiders
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Jacksonville Jaguars
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Green Bay Packers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: San Francisco 49ers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Buffalo Bills
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Denver Broncos
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Washington Redskins
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New Orleans Saints
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Houston Texans
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: San Diego Chargers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New York Jets
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Dallas Cowboys
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Philadelphia Eagles
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Minnesota Vikings
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: New England Patriots
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Atlanta Falcons
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Miami Dolphins
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Baltimore Ravens
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Indianapolis Colts
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Carolina Panthers
2009 NFL Pre-Draft Analysis: Tennessee Titans

2009 NFL Mock Draft - Matt McGuire's

2009 NFL Mock Draft - Walt's

NFL Picks

2009 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

2009 Fantasy Football Rankings

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