For this article, I am going to examine 5 free agents who Patriots could use. In my opinion, special team is in great shape so I will assume that Patriots will not make any significant changes. Order in which they are listed does not have any significant meaning except that I came up with their names first while writing this article.
5 free agents that would help Patriots
By Frank Hyun
1. DeAngelo Williams, Running backs from Carolina Panthers.
Williams has been an above average running back for the Carolina Panthers since he was drafted in 2006 annual NFL draft out of Memphis. Many draft analysts said that he did not have physical attributes to handle the NFL and he will be one of many collegiate running backs who fail to make adjustment in NFL. He was, at first, used as a complement to DeShaun Foster as a change of pace back then slowly took over the primary job, becoming the feature back in 2008. However, after scoring total of 20 touchdowns (18 rushing, 2 receiving) and gaining 1,515 yards on the ground, his stats fell for 2 consecutive years and only played in 6 games in 2010 due to injury. I think that he will be most complete back that Patriots will be able to acquire this off season. Signing him to 3-4 years, I believe, is worth the risk.
2. Braylon Edwards, Wide receiver from New York Jets
Before berating me for even thinking about bringing Braylon Edwards to Patriots, listen to what I have to say. Wide receivers who Patriots currently have are one of the hardest working groups in NFL but they simply lack physical gift that Braylon Edwards posses. Yes, he has character concerns and he talked some bad things about Patriots but he will bring physicality that none of Patriots wide receivers have. If you watch Patriots playoffs lose against Jets, Revis contained Deion Branch exclusively, shutting down one of Brady’s favorite target all game. Edward will be able to break away from jams. In my opinion, he is one of best slant route runner in NFL.
3. Ryan Harris, Offensive Tackle from Denver Broncos
Ryan Harris is a young, athletic offensive tackle with good amount of potential left in him. One of the reasons why Broncos did not sign him to an extension was because of his injury woes past two years but not many talented offensive tackles make free agency without one or more concerns attached to them. Matt Light does not figure to be in long term plan for Patriots and they might as well move Sebastian Vollmer to left tackle next season while putting Ryan Harris to right tackle. He is athletic enough to provide blocks in screen pass plays, which Patriots runs a lot.
4. Matt Roth, Defensive end/Outside linebacker from Cleveland Browns
Matt Roth may be familiar to you. He was ex-Dolphins whose favor fell out of Bill Parcells then switched the position from Defensive end to outside linebacker. He is not a great pass rusher by any mean but he excels in run support and pass coverage. As much as I am a fan of Rob Ninkovich, he is jack of all trade who does not have any strength. Yes, Patriots do need pass rusher, but someone who can stop the run and provide adequate pass coverage is also important. Also he can move to defensive end position in third down situations if needed.
5. Bernard Pollard, Strong safety from Houston Texans
This may be most outrageous suggestion I ever made. We all know how Pollard injured Tom Brady in week 1. However, he is one of best run-stuffing safeties in the league and a hard hitting safety. He was exposed numerous times as a strong safety of Houston Texans but entire Houston Texans secondary struggled. I believe that he can be Rodney Harrison type player in Patriots system. Coach Belichick will find ways to disguise his weakness. He will be relatively cheap signing and offers great upside. He is also young enough to reach his full potential and become complete strong safety.
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