Defensive end and running back top the list for the reigning champions.
After winning a Super Bowl, the New England Patriots likely feel content with their current roster. They managed to avoid losing some major pieces, while re-signing linebacker D’onta Higtower and bringing in cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The team still has needs to fill this #Offseason if they expect to repeat as champions next year, though.
Defensive end deficiencies
The team has seen some turnover at the defensive end position this offseason. They have seen Chris Long walk outr the door and acquired Kony Ealy on the last year of his rookie deal from the Carolina Panthers. Trey Flowers notched seven sacks for the team last year, but the pass rush is clearly a concern for the Patriots right now.
Without a pick until the third round of the NFL Draft, the Patriots may have a hard time filling the need with a high-caliber player in April. Jacquies Smith may be the best remaining name on the open market, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers end is a restricted free agent who just missed nearly the entire season with an ACL injury. They could also look at someone like Auburn prospect Carl Lawson in the third round.
Running back rotation
The Patriots have employed a running back by committee approach for as long as people can remember, and it has effectively taken the burden off quarterback Tom Brady’s shoulders. The team added Rex Burkhead this offseason, but stand to lose one of their best players at the position, as LeGarrette Blount remains on the open market, poised to bolt.
A rumored target in free agency has been Minnesota Vikings legend Adrian Peterson. The fit would be right – Peterson wouldn’t have to play every down in the Patriots’ running back rotation, while he could have his best chance in his career to take home a Super Bowl title. If a deal can’t be come to, however, there are still options in free agency, including Jamaal Charles. In a deep running back draft class, they could also look at Wayne Gallman or Marlon Mack in the middle rounds of the draft. #NFL Free Agency