2013 NFL Offseason: New England Patriots
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
New England Patriots (Last Year: 12-4)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: B-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: It's odd to see the Patriots with only three picks in the first six rounds. It's a good thing then that they don't need to do much in the draft. Finding help at receiver, defensive tackle and cornerback is New England's primary goal.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Patriots uncharacteristically had a massive shortage of picks, so they did a good job of moving out of the No. 29 pick to obtain more selections from the Vikings.
New England used those extra choices on receivers in an attempt to fill their greatest position of need. Bill Belichick took two of them in the first four rounds, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce. However, if recent history is any indication, both of these players will be busts. Belichick has done a terrible job of drafting receivers, so it's no surprise that he signed Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet a few weeks ago. That plan wasn't successful, so he had to grab a pair of rookies. It's not a good sign that both Dobson and Boyce were chosen a round earlier than their projection.
Elsewhere, the Patriots took prospects like Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan and Michael Buchanan right where they were supposed to go. However, they really reached on one of their third-rounders, Duron Harmon, a safety out of Rutgers. Harmon told the media that he was watching the NFL Draft as a fan, and he was completely shocked to hear his name called. New England could have obtained Harmon in the seventh round, so I don't know what the front office was thinking with that one.
The Patriots did an OK job overall with this class. They turned three picks in the first six rounds into five, and only one was an egregious reach.
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
52. Jamie Collins, DE/OLB, Southern Miss: B Grade
Defensive end wasn't a primary need for the Patriots, but it's definitely a position that could have been improved. Jamie Collins is a fierce pass-rusher who had 10 sacks in 2012, though level of competition is an issue. He was projected as a mid-second-round prospect, so this is the right range for him.
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59. Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall: C+ Grade
If New England's history of drafting receivers is any indication, Aaron Dobson will be a bust. The Patriots have taken so many terrible wideouts in the NFL Draft. Aaron Dobson looked good in the Senior Bowl, but this is a slight reach, as he could have gone a round later.
83. Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers: B Grade
This makes sense. The Patriots have gone to Rutgers before for defensive back help, and that worked out pretty well with Devin McCourty. Logan Ryan fills a need; when Aqib Talib got injured against the Ravens, New England didn't have an answer for Anquan Boldin. And speaking of Talib, he'll be a free agent next spring.
91. Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers: MILLEN NURSING RUSSELL WESTBROOK BACK TO HEALTH VIA KIELBASA Grade
The Patriots apparently love their Rutgers defensive backs. I liked the Logan Ryan pick, but this one is pretty ridiculous. I don't know anyone who considered Duron Harmon to be a draftable prospect. New England probably could have selected him in the seventh round.
102. Josh Boyce, WR, TCU: B- Grade
The Patriots had to double up on the receiver position after losing Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker this offseason. Once again, they have a dubious history of drafting wideouts, but maybe they'll be able to hit on one of these two players. I've had the speedy Josh Boyce in the fourth and fifth rounds of my mock throughout this process.
226. Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois: B Grade
Michael Buchanan fits both the 4-3 and 3-4, so it's no surprise Bill Belichick selected him. He fits the range and gives the Patriots another pass-rusher, so this was a solid move.
235. Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers: A- Grade
Steve Beauharnais was expected to go earlier than this, so I like the value. He's a versatile linebacker, which is something Bill Belichick loves.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
The Patriots have become pretty infamous chokers over the past few seasons. Actually, ever since Spygate, they've disappointed in the playoffs. It was more of the same in 2012, as they fell to the Ravens in the AFC Championship despite being favored by more than a touchdown.
- Three Wide Receivers: Wes Welker has left for Denver, so help is needed in the slot. A starting receiver was also needed across from Brandon Lloyd, who was cut. There will be plenty of options available at No. 29 overall. Signed Danny Amendola, Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins; re-signed Julian Edelman
- Cornerback: Aqib Talib was a great mid-season acquisition, but as witnessed in the AFC Championship, the New England secondary looked completely inept without him. Talib is about to hit the free-agent market. Meanwhile, Alfonzo Dennard was found guilty of third-degree felony assault and now faces up to six years in prison. Re-signed Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington
- Defensive Tackle: The Patriots don't have much of an interior pass rush. They may spend an early draft choice on a complement for Vince Wilfork. Signed Tommy Kelly and Armond Armstead
- Safety: Devin McCourty was awesome at free safety this past season. Tavon Wilson has shown promise. However, there is very little behind those two with Patrick Chung about to hit free agency. There's also the possibility of McCourty moving back to corner, which would open up a huge need at safety. Signed Adrian Wilson
- Right Tackle: Sebastian Vollmer, a free agent, is one of the top right tackles in football. The Patriots have to bring him back. Re-signed Sebastian Vollmer
- Defensive End: Another pass-rusher should be acquired. Jermaine Cunningham continues to be a bust, while third-round rookie Jake Bequette barely saw the field.
- Offensive Line Depth: New England has a very good offensive line, but the unit is pretty thin. Two players will have to be acquired for depth purposes if Donald Thomas isn't re-signed. Signed Tyronne Green and Will Svitek
- Linebacker Depth: The Patriots' top backups at linebacker are free agents.
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Danny Amendola, WR, Rams. Age: 27.
Signed with Patriots (5 years)
Danny Amendola is one of the top slot receivers in the NFL, but he's incredibly brittle. He can't be trusted with a big contract.
Leon Washington, KR, Seahawks. Age: 31.
Signed with Patriots
Leon Washington has been one of the top return specialists over the years, but he'll be 31 at the end of August.
Tyronne Green, G, Chargers. Age: 27.
Signed with Patriots
Tyronne Green wasn't very good in 2011, but improved enough this past year to be a capable starting guard.
Adrian Wilson, S, Cardinals. Age: 33.
Signed with Patriots
Adrian Wilson is a former Pro Bowler, but he didn't play very well in 2012. In fact, he was demoted out of nickel packages. His starting days could be over.
- Donald Jones, WR, Bills. Age: 25. -- Signed with Patriots
- Tommy Kelly, DT, Raiders. Age: 32. -- Signed with Patriots (2 years)
- Will Svitek, OT, Falcons. Age: 31. -- Signed with Patriots
- Michael Jenkins, WR, Vikings. Age: 31. -- Signed with Patriots
New England Patriots Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Patriots. Age: 29.
Re-signed with Patriots (4 years)
Sebastian Vollmer is arguably the top right tackle in football - but not when he has to go up against Cameron Wake.
Aqib Talib, CB, Patriots. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Patriots (1 year)
Aqib Talib has No. 1 cornerback potential, but happens to be a major head case. Any team that's even thinking about bringing him in needs a strong locker room.
Wes Welker, WR, Patriots. Age: 32.
Signed with Broncos
Wes Welker produces like crazy fantasy numbers, but he's also one of the league's most overrated players. There's a reason why the Patriots wouldn't show him the money. He drops lots of passes and is arguably a product of the system. He's also about to enter his mid-30s. Still, he's a highly effective slot receiver.
Patrick Chung, S, Patriots. Age: 26.
Signed with Eagles (3 years)
Patrick Chung missed several weeks in 2012 with multiple injuries, but he performed well when he was healthy, particularly in run support.
Brandon Lloyd, Patriots. Age: 32.
Brandon Lloyd's 1,448-yard 2010 campaign seems like a decade ago. Lloyd has been pretty mediocre the past two seasons. He just couldn't generate any chemistry with Tom Brady, as he's been accused of trying to avoid contact and having a negative attitude. Worst of all, he'll be 32 in July, so he's unlikely to have another 1,000-yard season.
Julian Edelman, WR/KR, Patriots. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Patriots
Julian Edelman is a nice weapon to have on offense and special teams, but he spends too much time on the injury report.
Donald Thomas, G, Patriots. Age: 27.
Signed with Colts
Donald Thomas didn't get to play very much behind Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly, but when he did, he definitely made the most of it. He could be a starter on many teams.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots. Age: 28.
Signed with Chargers
Danny Woodhead is a nifty pass-catching back who thrives in New England's system, but it's safe to say he wouldn't be as heavily utilized elsewhere.
Kyle Arrington, CB, Patriots. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Patriots (4 years)
Kyle Arrington is often the whipping boy for Patriot fans frustrated with their secondary, but I thought he played well this past season when acting as the nickel corner.
Brian Waters, G, Patriots. Age: 36.
Brian Waters is a six-time Pro Bowler who most recently was voted as such in 2011. However, he quit on the Patriots because of financial reasons. He didn't play at all in 2012. It's unknown how much he has left.
- Michael Hoomanawanui (RFA), TE, Patriots. Age: 25.
- Trevor Scott, DE, Patriots. Age: 29.
- Marquice Cole, CB, Patriots. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Patriots
- Donte' Stallworth, WR, Patriots. Age: 32.
- Deion Branch, WR, Patriots. Age: 34.
- Will Allen, CB, Patriots. Age: 35.
- Tracy White, OLB, Patriots. Age: 32.
- Josh Barrett, S, Patriots. Age: 28.
- Niko Koutouvides, OLB, Patriots. Age: 32. -- Re-signed with Patriots
- Dane Fletcher (RFA), ILB, Patriots. Age: 26.
- Spencer Larsen, FB, Patriots. Age: 29.
- Jamey Richard, G, Patriots. Age: 28.
- Derrick Martin, S, Patriots. Age: 28.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 22
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 22
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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