The follow-up record of teams in the year after a Super Bowl victory years is not always good (going back to Pats in 2002). Everyone over-priced and top motivation is not always there. Does Practical Bill - the man with ice water flowing in his veins - see this as an opportunity to radically restructure the roster mostly via draft, unloading some aging players for draft picks to select (1) an early in career Logan Mankins quality guard-tackle; (2) Vince Wilfork's successor (just as Vince succeeded Ted Washington); (3) another disruptive edge rusher? Perhaps even (gasp - forgive me) a year-too-early trade of No. 12 to the Rams for several of their early round picks? Tom is said to be looking at a career in Hollywood after football, and what better way to ensure the success of a new LA franchise? Feel I should put "Anonymous" on this note because of the threats I'll receive.**
You won't get that luxury, Pete. You'll have to take the heat from your fellow Patriots fans on this one. I will say I love your borderline conspiracy theory. I don't think there's a chance Belichick trades Tom Brady now, but I admire the thought process. The Rams possible move back to LA, etc., not the worst idea I've ever seen. But like I said, no way Belichick does something like that now. Too soon coming off a title. As for your top three picks … definite possibilities. The Patriots need some help on both lines and adding to the pass rush would make sense. Wilfork played reasonably well but not to the point where he's untouchable. He has a $4 million bonus due at the start of the new league year and if he doesn't get it he may decide to look elsewhere rather than re-signing. But assuming Darrelle Revis re-signs, those are three solid choices for the top needs, along with running back if Shane Vereen leaves.
I was reviewing the stats from this championship season. I was disappointed in the fact that I was surprised by the numbers. As I follow the Patriots year round. Rob Ninkovich may very well have been the regular season team MVP. Thoughts?**
My first thought is I'm wondering why you'd be disappointed after winning the Super Bowl. Why would any of the individual stats from such a successful season make you feel disappointed in any way? On top of that, the stats for the Patriots this season were solid. Brady threw from more than 4,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine picks. Rob Gronkowski was immense with 1,124 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell both had solid years. Darrelle Revis completely transformed the defense and the unit finished eighth in points allowed. My thought was Revis developed into the team's MVP for his ability to change the way the Patriots were able to play defense … but in reality I'm trying to figure out why anyone would be disappointed with the numbers – just win baby.
With the Combine over it appears the depth of the edge rushers is the deepest. I think a run on them in the top 10 pushes other positions of quality down the first round where the Patriots could benefit by selecting a different position of need but still someone with great value. Any thoughts on what that might be in this draft?
There are a lot of edge rushers for sure, but many have question marks in terms of position fit, size and overall value. So while I feel it's a deep spot, I don't think there will be a run on them at the top of the draft. Defensive tackles may be a different story, and running backs and wide receivers are really deep too but clearly there won't be a run on runners (see what I did there). But either way it's impossible to accurately forecast how a draft is going to go and therefore how to determine what the Patriots might do at No. 32. If there are 10 edge rushers selected and the Patriots really like a guy who is available, I don't think they'll pass on him just because so many had already been taken. In others words, I believe the Patriots will stick to their board and if a guy they have rated highly is available they'll pick him. If not, they'll likely trade down. I know it's not a sexy answer but two months out it's about all we can do at this point.
Do you think we have any chance of getting Logan Mankins back this season?
Honestly, no. The Bucs are thrilled to have a veteran professional like Mankins and said so at the Combine. GM Jason Licht said Mankins was a big part of the team's solution while coach Lovie Smith raved about Mankins' play up front. I don't see the Bucs letting him go, and therefore I can't see the Patriots getting him back.
This is the year when I am perfectly fine if Patriots trade out of the first round. Then they can use multiple picks to find quality talent for both lines as well as a tall CB and TE. Do you buy that?**
As I said earlier, it's impossible to know at this point. I'm not willing to say the Patriots should trade down until I see what kind of players are available at 32. I know there will be many talented players taken in this draft after 32, so if the Patriots like one that is on the board I don't want them to trade down. I like your plan to add to the lines and I believe the team will do so in at least one of the first three rounds. They could also use some depth in the secondary and the offensive backfield – and like you said, you never discount adding tight end.
Can you tell me if Jonas Gray will still get a Super Bowl ring even though he was deactivated for the SB? Also, do you think there is any chance of Wes Walker coming back to the team at a discount to try to get a ring before retirement?
Teams can decide which players get rings but Gray will most certainly receive his as I can never recall an example of a player on the active roster not getting one. The guys on the practice squad and injured reserve also will likely get rings. Guys who are suspended or otherwise not with the team can be left out of the process but in general if you spend significant time with a team, and certainly if you finish a season on the roster, you'd get a ring.
If Revis was to not re-sign, would there be any CBs in the draft that would compare?**
Absolutely not. First, there aren't many like Revis. Second, this isn't a particularly deep or talented group of corners. Michigan State's Trae Waynes is the consensus best of the group and he ran a great 40 at the Combine. He's pretty long at 6-1 and has the ability to play press man coverage. But to put him in Revis' category would be quite premature at this point. If the Patriots aren't able to sign Revis it will be a huge loss.
I sincerely hope, that now that Patriots won the SB, PFW won't drop its somewhat objective analysis of the Patriots 2015 draft under the umbrella "can't argue with success." We all know that this success was 1 foolish yard away from being another heart break. And besides, successful organizations continuously reinvent or at least improve themselves. And objective analysis is always a part of it. Would you agree?
Of course we agree, and if you spend any time reading and listening to our analysis you'd know we have no problem questioning things. Now, the team's tremendous success obviously factors into some of our analysis. For instance, we are probably more apt to give them the benefit of the doubt on a move we're unsure about. But if we don't like a move they make – allowing Revis to leave would be an example – then you can rest assured we'll make our feeling known. We're not on board with every pick, signing, trade the Patriots make – and sometimes are criticisms have turned out to be accurate.
With Adrian Peterson found not guilty and badly wanting out of Minnesota, is there a path that leads him to NE? I'm wondering what his stock has dropped and how low he'd be willing to go, pay-wise, for a legitimate shot at a title.
I'm not sure where you got the notion that Peterson was found not guilty. He pleaded no contest to the charges and reach a plea deal. That doesn't make him not guilty. As for having New England in his future … I would say the chances of that happening would be quite small. After listening to Robert Kraft talk about Ray Rice, I find it hard to believe he'd be willing to take on Peterson.