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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    5,384

    Defensive roster

    We're a week into free agency and almost a month from the draft.
    There's a lot of talk about the D so I thought it might be a good time to look at the defensive roster.

    Here is the current roster, courtesy of Rodak:
    DL: Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick, Fanene, Myron Pryor, Ron Brace, Alex Silvestro, Marcus Harrison, Kyle Love

    DE/OLB: Rob Ninkovich, Trevor Scott, Jermaine Cunningham, Markell Carter, Aaron Lavarias

    LB: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Tracy White, Niko Koutouvides, Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Rivera

    CB: Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Sterling Moore (CB/S), Malcolm Williams (CB/S), Marquice Cole

    S: Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Josh Barrett, Sergio Brown, Ross Ventrone



    My thoughts:
    DL: Wilfork and Fanene are starters. Deaderick and Love have potential are at least rotational guys. Not sure about Pryor's health. Other guys are depth. Pats could use more help here. At least rotational guys and someone who could push for a starting spot. I hope the pats take a look at RFA Sammie lee Hill.
    Pats have had Luis Castillo and Trevor Laws in for visits. Carter is still a possibility when he gets healthy. Derek Landri is another name available.

    OLB: Nink and ???. Need at least one quality starter here. Pats signed Scott who has some potential. Cunningham hasn't shown much at all yet.
    Leroy Hill and Manny Lawson are a couple names still available.

    LB: Mayo and Spikes are solid starters. Spikes showed some potential to be more than a two down guy. Could use some depth here though. Someone to replace Guyton who didn't look too good last season and likely won't be back.

    DB: I like Gregory as a depth guy but not sold on him as a starter. Cole seems like a depth/special teams singing. Think the Pats need a safety that can at least compete for a starter opposite Chung. Atogwe and Bell are a couple names available. Atogwe might be worthwhile. He's battled injuries the last few season and did get benched last year. But if healthy should be starter caliber.
    Would like another CB too. I'm not as high on Moore as some so would like someone who can come in when there is an injury or if McCourty doesn't step up from last season..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    8,776
    Love is definitely a piece of the rotation - he was terrific as a run-stopper for the team last year. Pryor should be 100% after almost a full year of rehab. By the looks of the signings (or lackthereof), I can't see us playing a 4-3. There's just no speed on the outside to pursue the QB.

    To me, by far the biggest concern remains that outside edge presence. I think up the middle with VW/Fanene/Love/Deaderick we will be just fine. I think at ILB we have two young, talented, heady players in Spikes/Mayo. I think Gregory and Chung will be a huge upgrade over last year's debacle at safety, though I'd like another proven body back there. I like the Will Allen addition and expect a bounce-back year from Devin and increased contributions from Moore/Dowling.

    It really all comes down to who plays that edge role. Ninko is a nice, solid player, a poor man's Vrabel. We still need to find one or ideally two more guys who can rotate in and pressure off the edge though.
    "I don't Twitter, I don't MyFace, I don't do any of those things, so I'd probably be the last to know."

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    696
    1. I think Silvestro is more in the DE/OLB mold.

    2. Not sure about the "huge upgrade" from Gregory, but I like the addition for depth and STs.

    No world beaters, but solid depth so they can go after BPA in draft. Aside from maybe center, I hope they go defense with all their picks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    24,904
    D/L. We have one elite player and a bunch of average/depth guys or at least that has what they have shown to be so far. Some could develop into more we will have to see. I think we need some serious speed on the edge, someone who can take advantage of one on ones and get to/rush the QB.

    LB's. We have two good/great tacklers and Spikes showed flashes of the ability to be a playmaker at the end of the year. If he can stay healthy he may develop into an above average LB. Mayo is great at tackling but fails to make very many big plays. The others are situational/rotational guys but not FT guys. Need some serious infusion of talent/SPEED in this group.

    CB's. I am not real worried about CB's as I think McCourty had an injury that he played through all year and I like the addition of Will Allen, and the others seem okay. Draft a CB maybe pick up a few for depth to see if you can upgrade the bottom of the roster.

    Safeties. I would like to see one of the 1st round picks used on a safety to pair with Chung. I think having a CF out there that can make some plays would go a long way to improving the secondary.

    Overall the defense is really in need of some talent but we do have enough picks to get some if they hit on a few picks on defense.
    Ignorance is those who disparage believers....12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD—the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
    13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Swampscott, MA
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    993
    I'm not sure that Gregory is much of an upgrade over what James Ihedigbo gave us last year. Depth guy, can play special teams. Would love to see us pursue Yeremiah Bell.

    Surest way to solidify the front 7 is to draft a DT that can play 3-4 DE. When we got Seymour and then took Warren and then took Wilfork we committed over a series of years to add a starter to the defensive front. Seymour was 6th overall (2001), Warren was 13th overall (2003) and Wilfork was 21st overall in 2004. Fanene is a good pickup and replaces what we used to get from Mike Wright and is somthing we have been missing for 2 years given Wright's issues with career ending concussions. If we have to trade up to get 'our guy' whoever that is so that we have better quality and less interchangeable mix-and-match parts would settle things down for us.

    Corners get Dowling back, there's hope that McCourty just had an off year, Moore looks promising, and Arrington enters a contract year. It might be worthwhile to try to extend Arrington and Vollmer now while we have the cap room, franchise tags for OT and CB are really pricey.

    LBs, in my opinion, lack speed or instincts or both. Mayo is a tackling machine, but aside form the INT against the Redskins rarely made a play in coverage. Looked lost in Super Bowl on first Cruz TD and that was his assignment on that play. Spikes has the instincts but lacks the speed to really be effective in coverage. Ninkovich is developing into a respectable starter. We could use more talent here. Kuechly is a dream as ILB isn't a priority, but that kid is fast, instinctive, and really smart. He would be all over the field and making a ton of plays. If we could kick Mayo or Spikes outside they could make room for a top talent like Kuechly.

    So far: Fanene as the Mike Wright replacement is the best move. Gregory/Scott/Cole feel like depth signings. I think the only starter left out there is Yeremiah Bell and it's at a position of need. Castillo probably won't last the season and durability is a big part of ability.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2010
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    8,776
    If we were looking for a SS, I'd be all over Bell. He's a terrific in the box safety. His coverage skills leave a lot to be desired though, and that's why he's even available in the first place. We need a rangy safety who we can pair with Chung, who is solid in the box, a very sure tackler and capable of covering TEs.

    Given the way the season ended, and with the addition of Will Allen, I feel okay about CB. McCourty should bounce back, Moore looked like a potential starter, Arrington is a capable piece and Dowling has all the tools to succeed as an outside-the-numbers corner. Add in maybe one more rookie there with a 3rd or 4th round pick and I'm okay there.

    I watched Kuechly probably 15 times over his career, and he is NOT the answer as a coverage linebacker. The more I am looking around the more I think Zach Brown would be a great fit for the Pats. He is much more athletic than Kuechly, he can rush the passer a bit and he has the size to play WOLB and nickel LB for the Pats. Kuechly has very good instincts but IMO he just won't be able to run with the Aaron Hernandez's of the world. Zach Brown looks to me like a future Lawrence Timmons.
    "I don't Twitter, I don't MyFace, I don't do any of those things, so I'd probably be the last to know."

    - Bill Belichick on the social media exploits of Chad Ochocinco

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