New England Patriots 2017 Team Needs
The Patriots shocked the world by erasing the largest deficit in Super Bowl history and defeating the hapless Atlanta Falcons, closing out a controversial season with a win. New England, with their recent history of winning, has been able to function despite average draft hauls and small dollar free agent signings.
Primary Needs: CB, WR, LB
Secondary Needs: OT, DE, TE
Free Agency Strategy: The Patriots are in good shape with just under $62 million in cap space to spend, and while they typically don’t spend much money, the team might want to resign some key free agents this season like Dont'a Hightower, Malcolm Butler, Jabaal Sheard and Logan Ryan. Martellus Bennett and Legarrette Blount are likely goners but the Patriots always seem to find a way to bring in some key veteran free agents to be difference makers for good value. Players like Julius Peppers, Dwight Freeney, and Mario Williams might fit the bill this season since the team will lose both Chris Long and possibly Sheard. Brandon Marshall and VIncent Jackson could both be options at receiver, with Marshall being the more obvious choice.
Draft Strategy: New England probably should focus on resigning their cornerbacks given their terrible developmental percentage at the position. Still there are a number of cornerbacks that could benefit the Patriots in the early rounds and New England is very unlikely to spend money on both Ryan and Butler. Although iight end isn’t a major need the Patriots offense works much better with two functional tight ends. Evan Engram and Gerald Everett would both offer a nice contrast to Gronkowski. There will be plenty of linebacker depth as well, so Belichick could easily find a replacement for Hightower in the first two rounds. Though deep at linebacker, defensive back, and tight end, this draft is a little skinny at receiver and offensive line so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots buck the trend and select those positions early, knowing that the depth of the other positions will still yield serviceable players in the middle rounds.