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The Quest for the Lombardi – New England Patriots

 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2011 Record: 13-3 (5-1) AFC East Champions

  • Won in the AFC Divisional Finals over the Denver Broncos, 45-10
  • Won in the AFC Championship Game over the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20
  • Lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, 21-17

 

Passing Offense – 317.8 (2nd)

QB Tom Brady: 5,235; 39 / 12

WR Wes Welker: 122 – 1,569 / 9TDs

TE Rob Gronkowski: 90 – 1,327 / 17TDs

TE Aaron Hernandez: 79 – 910 / 7TDs

WR Deion Branch: 51 – 702 / 5TDs

 

Passing Defense – 293.9 (31st)

CB Kyle Arrington: 7 INTs

DE Mark Anderson: 10 Sacks

DE Andre Carter: 10 Sacks

 

Rushing Offense – 110.2 (20th)

HB BenJarvus Green Ellis: 181 – 667 / 11TDs

HB Stevan Ridley: 87 – 441 / 1TD

HB Danny Woodhead: 77 – 351 / 1TD

 

Rushing Defense – 117.1 (17th)

OLB Jerod Mayo: 95 Tackles

CB Kyle Arrington: 88 Tackles

CB Devin McCourty: 87 Tackles

OLB Rob Ninkovich: 74 Tackles

 

Re-signed / Arrivals:

WR Wes Welker (Franchised Tagged – Tendered at $9.515 million)

WR Deion Branch (Re-signed – 1 yr / $1.325 million)

OG Dan Connolly (Re-signed – 3 yrs / $9.75 million)

LB Tracy White (Re-signed – 1 yr / $990,000)

QB Brian Hoyer (Re-signed – 1 yr / $1.927 million)

LB Niko Koutouvides (Re-signed – 1 yr / $825,000)

WR Matthew Slater (Re-signed – 3 yrs / $5.4 million)

DT Marcus Harrison (Re-signed – terms unknown)

WR Donte Stallworth (Redskins, Signed – 1 yr /$875,000)

WR Anthony Gonzalez (Colts, Signed – 1 yr / $716,000)

CB Will Allen (Dolphins, Signed – 1 yr / $975,000)

CB Marquice Cole (Jets, Signed – 1 yr / $650,000)

DE Jonathan Fanene (Bengals, Signed – 3 yr / $12 million)

TE Daniel Fells (Broncos, Signed – 3 yrs / $5.25 million)

OG Robert Gallery (Seahawks, Signed – 1 yr / undisclosed contract)

S Steve Gregory (Chargers, Signed – 3 yrs / $7.05 million)

WR Brandon Lloyd (Rams, Signed – 3 yrs / $12 million)

DE Trevor Scott (Raiders, Signed – 1 yr / $1.15 million)

LB Bobby Carpenter (Lions, Signed – 1 yr / $775,000)

FB Tont Fiammetta (Cowboys, Signed – 1 yr / $615,000)

FB Spencer Larsen (Broncos, Signed – 2 yrs / terms unknown)

 

Released / Departures:

OG Rich Ohrnberger (Released/failed physical)

FB Lousaka Polite (Released)

DE Mike Wright (Released/failed physical)

S Brandon Meriweather (Redskins, Signed – 2 yrs / $6 million)

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Bengals, Signed – 3 yrs / $9 million)

DE Mark Anderson (Bills, Signed – 4 yrs / $27.5 million)

 

Draft Order:

  • 1st Rd Pick  – 27th (from NO – Traded 2011 1st Rd Pick (28th – HB Mark Ingram) to Saints for 2011 2nd Rd Pick (56th – HB Shane Vereen), 2012 1st Rd Pick (27th)
  • 1st Rd Pick – 31st
  • 2nd Rd Pick – 16th (from OAK – Traded 2011 3rd Rd Pick (92nd – T Joseph Barksdale), 2011 4th Rd Pick (125th – RB Taiwan Jones) to Raiders for 2011 7th Rd Pick (219th – CB Malcolm Williams), 2012 2nd Rd Pick (16th)
  • 2nd Rd Pick  – 30th
  • 3rd Rd Pick – 30th
  • 4th Rd Pick – 31st

 

Last Five First Round Picks:

  • 2007: Brandon Meriweather S (24th Overall) – Signed with the Redskins this off-season, after not making the impact the Patriots thought he would have had. Slowly fell out of favor in the depleted defensive back field and had some minor injuries that shortened his stay in Foxboro.
  • 2008: Jerod Mayo LB (10th Overall) – Starting Outside Linebacker and has been a tackling machine since he has been drafted (500+ tackles to date), they have found one of the linebackers to replace their old contingency in Teddy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Junior Seau.
  • 2009: NO FIRST ROUND PICK (Traded to Baltimore Ravens, who selected T Michael Oher).
  • 2010: Devin McCourty CB (27th Overall) – Starting CB and has been solid in the secondary that has been riddled with injuries over the pass few years. Needs to start showing his abilities in a secondary that needs a boost after being constantly lite up for big yardage.
  • 2011:Nate Solder OT (17th Overall) – Drafted to backup Matt Light, but once Light went down with an injury as well as Sebastien Vollmer went down as well, Solder was pressed into action. But will be used mainly as backup tackle and as a tight-end in heavy running plays, but showed ability to start and could be Matt Light‘s future replacement.

 

TEAM NEEDS:

CB – With so many injuries across the secondary, especially at the Corner-back position, left the Patriots scrambling for talent to help their leaky defense. Constantly gave up huge yardage to sub .500 teams and when they finally faced a team that had the power to throw it, it was obvious where their weakness lied. Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington not possessing the abilities to be top flight corners, this position is in dire need of a face lift.

  • Possible Pick – Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska – A sure tackler and with excellent closing speed, Dennard can bring physicality to the weak Patriots secondary, which will allow him to take on opponents top flight receivers in a year or two.

 

C – This is a position that will merit a top pick for the Patriots, who saw four different starters step in throughout the season. If Tom Brady is going to stay upright he will need a young tank in front of him. With Dan Koppen coming off the injured reserve and will turn 33 this season will not be coming back, it is time the Patriots to invest in a long-term replacement.

  • Possible Pick – Peter Konz,Wisconsin – Konz brings a swift footed center to a group that needs a youth injection. Combined with excellent size (6-5, 315), strength and quickness he can be plugged into the middle of the offensive line for the next 5-10 years.

 

DE/Pass Rusher – After getting a huge boost in the pass rushing department this past season from Andre Carter (10 Sacks, Free Agent) and Mark Anderson (10 Sacks, Signed with Bills). This might be a position that they may address later in the draft, but if the right player falls to them, they might just get what they need, since they hold two first round picks. Over the past few years, the Patriots have been using a lot of band-aid players to cover up their glaring holes, but this might be the year they can finally seal it for good.

  • Possible Pick – Whitney Mercilus, Illinois – Is a rare talent for the a defense that lacks play-makers and adding a pesky, hard working edge rusher might not get bigger, but has the motor to keep Tackles, Guards and Tight-ends guessing.

 


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