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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon Jun 01 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: Pot Roast and Patriots draft options

True or False: the return of Coach Scar will be the most important move of the offseason? I will go with true. He will do wonders with a young o-line and hopefully bring back the dependability on the line.

Jaime Otero

I am inclined to say answer true, as well. I will say that the trade for Martellus Bennett would be the other candidate in my mind. But in the end after the way last season ended in Denver and the seeming regression that took place on the offensive line, the return of the legendary Dante Scarnecchia could be a massive boost for Tom Brady and the team as a whole. Scarnecchia has proven the ability to get the most out of his troops in the past. He has a theoretically talented group of young linemen to work with in addition to veterans Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer. Maybe most importantly, runaway rushers were essentially a non-issue during Scarnecchia's pre-retirement tenure in New England. Cleaning up that area alone would have gone a long way toward altering last season.

Andy Hart

I thought I was very familiar with the history of the Patriots. Someone said the Patriots for 1 year had a different name. If that is true, what were they called? Thank you.

Raymond Hurteau

As far as I know, the Patriots have played every game as the Patriots dating back to the inaugural season of 1960. According to the team's media guide, the nickname was chosen in a public contest and officially announced on Feb. 20, 1960.

Andy Hart

Hey guys, I am 15 and am as big of a Pats fan as anybody. When I could get a job I would love to join this show if you would let me. But my main question is if you think that we need more depth at the safety position. I ask this because I personally believe that the reason we have been able to have a lack of talent at the cornerback position and still be successful last season is because of Chung and McCourty. They are both excellent players and excel at man-to-man coverages compared to your average safety (Eric Weddle, Morgan Burnett) since we don't have another safety that has proven himself to be ready to take on a bigger role, would it be wise to draft one early on (second round)? Thanks!

Sam Skurnik

Glad to hear the Patriots are continuing to develop new generations of fans, and PFW fans as well. As for your safety question, right now the team seems to have decent depth at the position. While I think Weddle would have been a nice addition had the rumors in free agency been true, and he's probably the best of the guys you mentioned even as he ages, the return of Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon as well as the hopeful development of Jordan Richards is a pretty nice foundation at the position. Given New England's 11 draft picks at this point, I could see another body being added at safety at some point but don't think it's a real position of need in the first few of the team's selections. I'd much rather see resources used on cornerback, running back, tackle, linebacker or receiver.

Andy Hart

In addition to almost entire offense returning this year, Patriots have recently added Martellus Bennett, Chris Hogan, Nate Washington and Clay Harbor in free agency and will most likely add more offensive weapons in the draft. Looking back at a last year, when due to injuries, Brady had almost no weapons to throw to during a key stretch which likely cost the team the 1st seed and a trip to SB, this seems like a great strategy - add many players and see who works out for the system. But there is also a question - can Brady really work with all these players? With so many targets can he really develop a rapport with all of them? And even if he does, is he going to be forcing the ball to Gronk and Edelman and perhaps Lewis. When a QB has only 2 seconds to get rid of the ball, how much can he scan the field even if he wants to find the open targets? So while having capable backups on offense who know the system is a no-brainer asset, the question is - how do you get them all enough opportunity to sync up with Brady during a short preseason when you also want to get your backup QB some playing time for a number of reasons?

Aron G.

This is a long question about a seemingly imagined problem. The addition of talent and depth to the already stacked New England roster at the skill positions is far from a bad thing. There is a lot of time in the spring, summer and fall for Brady to build comfort with the new and returning faces as well as how they might all fit together. Injuries happen. Weekly matchups require unique game plans based on opponents' strengths. There is a lot that goes into putting together a successful offense and the Patriots certainly would appear to have all the makings for such a group. And if you are worried about too many good players and too many options, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. These things tend to work themselves out over the preseason and into the year. If this is the biggest problem the Patriots have this year, then starting making reservations for February in Houston. Plus, adding a high-level talent like Bennett isn't the same as adding competitive bodies like Washington and Harbor. The deeper the roster the better it is for all involved. Competition breeds success.

Andy Hart

With the release of Donte Whitner from the Cleveland Browns would he be someone the Patriots would look at to bolster our backfield?

Michael Velasquez

Certainly adding a physical player like Whitner, even as he ages, can help the back end of any defense. That said, I'm not sure the value would be there for a Patriots team that has decent depth at safety already and has to be judicious where it spends the rest of its available resources. New England always does its due diligence on any available player, but I'm not sure I can see a marriage Whitner and the Patriots at this time.

Andy Hart

Seeing that this is probably Tom Brady's last couple years of being a top quarterback, do you think we should forget all the personal issues and forget all the past injuries and take a chance on a couple very talented players in Greg Hardy and Percy Harvin?

Robert Miles

No and no. Hardy is just not a guy that I would have any interest in and I'm not sure I can see the Patriots going down that controversial road, either. I don't care what kind of image rehab tour and interview circuit he goes on, Hardy is just not a good guy to add to a team dynamic. Harvin is simply a guy who can't stay healthy enough to stay on the field. He was once a feared playmaker but now is just trying to hang onto his NFL career. Given everything the Patriots have done this offseason in terms of adding playmakers on offense, the need to take a chance on a guy like Harvin just doesn't exist. Neither guy is worth the very different kinds of trouble they bring to the mix.

Andy Hart

Do you think the Patriots will re-sign LeGarrette Blount or maybe look elsewhere for a running back such as Ryan Matthews? What if they do not sign anymore veteran backs? Is it reasonable to believe they will use a draft pick on a running back?

Caleb Kiessling

If I had to guess, I would think New England will sign at least one more veteran player at the running back position and draft at least one player at the spot come later this month. The veteran could be Blount or one of the veteran types coming off injury issues. I'd love to see the team target a running back with one of the first couple picks it has in the draft to develop a potential lead back of the future to pair with a nice stable of passing backs. For the record, Mathews is expected to be the centerpiece of the Eagles backfield this fall, where he is under contract after signing with the team last spring. And while Blount has had a decent run in New England, I think the team can do better. I'd prefer to look elsewhere. But if it comes down to Blount or nothing, I'd take Blount back.

Andy Hart

I love the signing by Terrance Knighton. But is there a chance we can get ALEX COLLINS running back from Arkansas?

Emmerson Holder

Sure there is a chance. Collins is in the mix of running backs who could go in the second or third rounds of the draft. There is a lot to like about his collegiate career and running style. But there is also an issue in that he fumbled 16 times with the Razorbacks, at least five times in each of his three seasons. That doesn't sound like something Bill Belichick would embrace in a young back, but you never know. It may not be Collins, but as I said earlier I think the team will take a runner in the mid-rounds of the draft.

Andy Hart

Dear Gentlemen,

My name is Patrick Eberhard and I'm a great Patriots fan from Germany. My question is about the German draft prospect Moritz Boehringer. I'm curious what your opinion is on him and how likely it is that the Patriots are using a draft pick on him? I know, the football in Germany is no comparison to the college football played in the USA, but I saw him playing and was very impressed by his skills. Thanks for your opinion on this Topic.

Best regards,

Patrick Eberhard

Hey guys, longtime Patriots fan from Germany. My obvious question is regarding German WR Moritz Boehringer. Patriots personnel was present at Florida Atlantic's pro day and, according to reports, seem to be especially interested in him. What are the chances of the Patriots drafting him? He would of course be a developmental project but could be intriguing with his size-speed combination as an outside receiver. Plus, as an engineering student he probably has the necessary smarts to grasp the Patriots system. Curious about your opinion. Thanks in advance and greetings from Hamburg, Germany.

Lukas S.

Boehringer is a very unique story and prospect. He reportedly dominated on the football field in Germany, but that's a level well below college in the States. His numbers at his seemingly appropriate April Fool's pro day were very impressive for a 6-4, 227-pound receiver, measurables that would have put him among the top five in players at each drill at the Combine. Plenty of teams seemed very interested, reportedly including the Patriots. But how do you project a skill position player to jump from German football to the NFL? Boehringer is clearly a project that some team may likely now use a draft pick on. Anything beyond that is seemingly pure speculation and projection at this point. But it's a story and tale worth following, whether he lands in New England or not. Of course if he did end up with the Patriots he might have an instant pal in fellow German Sebastian Vollmer.

Andy Hart

What do you guys think about the Terrance Knighton addition? Is he an upgrade over Akiem Hicks? Also, are there any free agents left that you think the Pats should take a look at? Why not Arian Foster? They could sign him to a low risk deal (given his injury history).

Derrick Smith

I like the Knighton addition to the defensive tackle rotation. He's not the versatile athlete that Hicks was, but has been a consistent force over his career. While known as a run-stuffer, Knighton is probably a bit more disruptive overall than people give him credit for. Foster has dealt with major injuries in recent years, with things just seemingly tearing off his aging bones. He's not the guy he once was, but if he gets healthy and wants to sign a team-friendly deal he would certainly be a nice addition to an already impressive offense. He'd be a physical, veteran presence for the committee backfield. But his health would be the biggest factor, especially since he was struggling to be productive even before landing on IR last season.

Andy Hart

Given our very active free agency, which I love, do you see us taking more of a 2012 draft approach? Would love to see us use all our picks to select more higher round talent to fill the obvious holes in our roster, big downhill back, deep threat wide receiver and corner back depth?

Mark Collier

The Patriots clearly have a pretty deep roster right now given the additions that have joined a team that didn't have many holes to begin with. With that in mind, I would love to see Belichick and Nick Caserio be aggressive on draft weekend to move up to get guys they see as fitting the team's wants and needs in the team-building process. I'd put cornerback and running back atop the list of needs, with depth at tackle and linebacker coming next on the to-do list. If the opportunities arise to use the 11 picks (although this is the last year the compensatory selections can't be traded, so really there are seven tradeable picks) to move up and grab talent I'd be all for it. I also expect Belichick will look to fill a void in the current draft that has the team without picks in the fourth and fifth rounds. My guess is that the team will not come away with 11 prospects, but you never know. And the team could target guys in say the sixth round with compensatory selections that it sees as potential priority free agents. Why risk missing on those guys or having to pay then bonus money when you can just draft them?

Andy Hart

I've seen questions about what the recent additions of WR's affects Amendola. What about Aaron Dobson? He has shown flashes of excellence, but overall hasn't met expectations, and is often injured. Do you see him remaining with the Patriots?

Greg White

While I think there is a chance that contract issues with Amendola could see him not even make it to training camp if push comes to financial shove, my guess is that Dobson's fight to keep a job in New England could run through the summer. While Amendola is a clear contributor whose value is the question, Dobson is in a very different boat. He's been a non-factor since his decent rookie season. He's just not been able to stay healthy or carve out a role for himself. Right now, given the additions of Chris Hogan, Nate Washington and a possible draft pick, I'd put Dobson as a longshot to be with New England in 2016. But a lot can happen between now and the opener, both on and off the field.

Andy Hart

Do you see the fact that Pot Roast is going to be asked to play in a 4-3 defense as cause for concern or is it less of a concern for interior lineman then say an edge rusher to switch schemes? I like the move though.

Joel Greyling

Ontario, Canada

Any time a player changes teams or schemes, it's a consideration worth watching. But Knighton is a big-bodied interior player who should find a home in the middle in New England, regardless of the way the team uses him. I do think the 3-4/4-3 question is most important for edge guys. Defensive tackle or nose tackle types do have some changes in the two schemes, but either way they are dealing with opposing centers and guards. They are eating up blockers and trying to control the middle of the field, regardless of where they specifically line up before the snap. I think Knighton will be a solid, productive addition to the Patriots front and could help an already solid run defense that was one of the team's strengths over the second half of last season.

Andy Hart

With the additions of Chris Hogan and Nate Washington, and most likely drafting a receiver in the draft, what does BB do about Danny Amendola? He is a great player and a great option if Edelman goes down, but he has a huge cap hit. If he does get released, he would definitely go and sign with another team. What should BB do about him? If he did release him and Edelman gets hurt, who could we sign to replace him? I think Wes Welker coming back in that case would be great since he already knows the system and has the same skill set as Edelman.

Joseph Wright

Right now, Amendola is a pretty expensive ($6.8 million cap figure) luxury. He's depth and a complementary piece. Because of that, I think he'll either take a big paycut or be sent packing. If the latter happens, I'm not sure it's a huge loss. Hogan can play either inside or out. He could help fill in if Edelman were out of action. Keshawn Martin is also in the mix as a guy to be a versatile inside option. Unless things reached unforeseen circumstances, I can't see Welker returning. He's currently a free agent and his career may be over. His skills are clearly diminished and I think some see him as a major health concern given his history of head injuries. He may not ever play again in the NFL, and certainly a return to New England is even more unlikely. As for Amendola, my gut tells me he will not be a member of the 2016 Patriots. CSNNE.com has reported he won't take a paycut without a fight. If that's true, I think he's likely to be let go at some point.

Andy Hart

I know the recent 3-year deal given to former first-round pick McClellin helps to fill Mayo's former role however I see linebacker depth as in issue. I pray the Pats extend Collins and Hightower to long term deals however that remains to be seen and behind them, there is a serious lack of talent. Even McClellin is a sort of unproven commodity, failing to shine in Chicago. Do you see the linebacker position as an urgent need for the Patriots and would they consider using one of their second-round picks on one?

Connor Haley

I do not see the linebacker position as an urgent need, though certainly improved depth would be nice. You did not mention Jonathan Freeney, who actually started seven of the 13 games he played last fall. At times Freeney seemed to be, at least based on playing time, ahead of Mayo on the depth chart. I'm not the biggest Freeney fan, but the coaches seem to feel comfortable with him on the field. I also think McClellin apparently came into his own as an off-the-line linebacker in Chicago last year. He wasn't the edge player or pass rusher the Bears were looking for as a first-round pick, but he is nice depth for New England. Others on the roster worth depth consideration include Jon Bostic, Rufus Johnson and maybe a draft pick. Plus, with maybe the best linebacker duo in football in Collins and Hightower the position looks good almost regardless of the depth!

Andy Hart

Please please please please please please tell me we are interested in Percy Harvin. The dude is a superior version of LaFell who had a great season for the Patriots. If we can make a no-name like Julian Edelman a star, imagine what we could do with a unpolished star like Harvin.

Robert Miles

Two questions this week from Robert about Harvin. Must be a friend. I don't get the love fans have for the oft-injured Harvin who has also been connected to locker room issues with his previous teams. He can't stay on the field to make plays consistently. That's the bottom line. He even reportedly considered retirement this offseason before deciding he does want to continue playing. Belichick supposedly like Harvin coming out of college, but that was a long time ago and a lot of injuries under the bridge. I don't really see the current need or fit in New England. And the shot in the email at Edelman was unwarranted, unfair and not appreciated. The guy has worked hard to hone his talents and become a true NFL playmaker.

Andy Hart

With the Patriots not having a number1 pick and such few class-A wide receivers being in the draft should the Patriots trade for Josh Gordon? Maybe trading Danny Amendola and a pick because of his overly large salary, or do you think Chris Hogan and Nate Washington are enough?

Terrance Little

I would love to see Gordon in a Patriots uniform if he is reinstated by the NFL. But it's clearly not very likely. New England has plenty of talent right now at tight end, wide receiver and passing back. But Gordon is a different beast all together. For some reason, I think he's finally ready to skate his lane and keep himself on the field. That said, why would Cleveland want a less talented receiver who is paid too much? That trade would make no sense for them, even if they were just looking to move on from Gordon. (That's not the case as I think Hue Jackson wants to work with the elite talent.) In the end, though, the additions of Hogan, Washington and Bennett to the returning mix of Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and others is certainly more than enough for Brady to once again have one of the better passing attacks in the game.

Andy Hart

What kind of trade would make sense for Joe Thomas of the Browns? Solder + ? The pick from Arizona? Does trader Bill make the trade? Do the Browns?

Boris Badinoff

Thomas is a Hall of Fame tackle who's never missed start in his NFL career. Even if Cleveland was looking to trade him to rebuild, adding Solder and his contract would probably not be in the Browns best interests, even with a second-round pick. Cleveland would likely prefer to get higher picks and financial flexibility in a Thomas trade, which your scenario does not offer. And from a Patriots perspective, trading Solder would leave the team with more than $8 million in dead money on the books. That's not ideal. This is a proposed trade that I don't think makes sense for either team.

Andy Hart

I'm happy to see New England surrounding Tom with some weapons for his last couple of years. However, what kind of impact do you think Hogan will have on the offense and do you think he will be able to learn the playbook in time for the start of the season? P.S. I just downloaded Patriots Football Weekly app and it's awesome. I've been listening to your podcast for a year now on Tune in radio. Keep up the great work PFW crew!

James Beegan

First, thanks for your support and glad you enjoy the Patriots Football Daily ipad app. Fans can get it in the iTunes app store! As for Hogan, based on his background and history, I fully expect he has what it takes and will put in the work to be ready to go in the Patriots offense this season. I don't think that will be an issue, but you never really know until it plays out in spring workouts and summer camps. His impact, though, is far more difficult to judge. That will be based on the health of guys around him, among other factors. What will Bennett's role be? What will Dion Lewis add in the passing game coming off an ACL? Still, I have think it would be a major disappointment if Hogan doesn't surpass his previous career highs of 41 catches and four touchdowns. The real upside would be something like LaFell's 74 catches for 953 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season in 2014. That's probably too high an expectation, though.

Andy Hart

Hi PFW, love the show although don't get to listen live, appreciate the value you guys bring to the offseason. Quick Q regarding running backs. I keep thinking about how the Chiefs seemed to improve when Jamaal Charles went on IR and how they are receiver needy, what do you think the likelihood Belichick would take a shot at an oldish back off a big injury if we could work out a trade? Figuring it would cost us Amendola and some late picks. They need a slot guy to complement Kelce and Maclin and we have an abundant of late round picks and Amendola being a possible cap casualty. Also with the projected improvements across the O Line, would it be that bad if we re-signed Blount to another economical deal, with the added blocking talent at TE and Scar back he might work out as a budget option for our pass-first team.

Thanks guys

Matt Fletcher

The idea of trading Amendola for Charles has been bandied about in Ask PFW and on talk-radio airwaves at times this spring. I don't think it's a crazy idea, especially considering Belichick's history of pulling off trades with Andy Reid. Charles salaries of just under $3 million and $4 million the next two years aren't terrible, even for a guy coming off his second ACL tear. Charles has never averaged less than 5 yards a carry in his career and would love to see a guy like him added to the Patriots already impressive offense. He's not the power back that I think might be the ideal fit, but he'd be just another crazy weapon at the disposal of Brady and Josh McDaniels. That dream acknowledged, his addition is probably pretty unlikely. In terms of Blount, as I said earlier, if nothing better comes down the pike I'd be open to re-signing him. I'd prefer to upgrade that spot, but he's better than nothing given his comfort in Foxborough.

Andy Hart

The Patriots have been stripped of their first-round pick this year, and this is very frustrating for Pats fans, especially given the shaky evidence in this matter. But with the current collective bargaining agreement, first-round draft choices, even late first rounders, are paid a very high salary with lots of guaranteed money. Given the crap shoot that is the NFL Draft and New England's uncanny ability to sign value free agents, might the Patriots actually be better off using that money on signing a proven veteran anyway? Or am I grasping?

Bruce Sullivan

I appreciate you looking for some silver lining, but you are grasping at the highest level. There is no way to spin Belichick losing a first-round draft pick as a positive. Under the current CBA, first-round picks are financially pretty solid investments and offer young cost certainty for four or five years. Given Belichick's successful history making first-round picks or turning the pick into good trade value, losing the pick is a huge blow to the team and just exemplifies how unfair the Deflategate punishment was to New England. Losing a first-round pick is just about the worst blow a team can suffer, taking away a potential core player that could be a franchise stalwart for a decade or more.

Andy Hart

Any WRs you have in mind that the Patriots might target in the draft/would fit the mold of a perfect Patriot?

Joel Guadarrama

While I'm not sold on the high-end wide receiver talent in this year's draft class, I do think there are a lot interesting prospects in the middle of the group. One guy who jumped off the film for me was Oklahoma's Sterling Shephard who reminds me a lot of Deion Branch. Not sure there are any "perfect" Patriots but if you are looking for a pure burner then Notre Dame's Will Fuller might be the guy, of course that's never really been a good fit in New England. Rutgers' Leonte Carroo is a versatile talent with off-field issues who could be an option. I could also see Southeast Missouri's Paul McRoberts or Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell fitting in a Patriots uniform.

Andy Hart

Hey, since Jones had been traded and they have already replaced him, do you think he is just one of many on the way out? You know, the Patriot Way.

Jeffrey Bravo

No. I think the Jones move made a lot of sense and fully expected him to be traded this offseason. All the circumstances pointed toward it. Will there be some other surprise moves or cuts? Maybe. Certainly Amendola is a guy who could be left on the outside looking in thanks to his salary cap number. I also don't think it's necessarily the Patriot Way to get rid of young, proven talent. They've kept many such guys over the years like Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski and others. I think that's the road the team will attempt to go down with key young defenders Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower and Malcolm Butler in the near future. If that happens, a Patriots team currently the favorite for this year's Super Bowl will be well set up for the future as well. Usually the talent that departs is either aging at that point – Mankins, Seymour, etc. – or good players looking for great money – like Deion Branch or Asante Samuel. Jones was likely in the latter group.

Andy Hart

Hey guys! Love what you all do for Pats fans like myself. My question is about the running game. I feel like last year we were significantly hurt by the loss of James Devlin. Am I just being overly optimistic? Or do you agree that he will be a big help in run blocking this year? Also, I find it hard to imagine The Hoodie keeping all of the running backs we have on the roster right now. I love Lewis and White but I feel like they are both similar in style and offer the same things. Since Lewis is the more talented, he is a roster lock. Do you think the Pats will keep White, Gaffney and Bolden? Especially since they added Brown? Also I am really hoping they draft a big running back in the second round of the draft. Do you think they will?

Thanks guys! Sorry for all the questions

Christian DiLuzio

The running back situation is ironically very much up in the air right now. Lewis is the best in the group – at least based on his six-plus game breakout early last year – but coming off a torn ACL and relying on his lateral explosion his status next year is unknown. When will he be ready to hit the field and when will he return to his playmaking self? For that reason, White is seemingly almost a lock for the roster, not to mention his impressive play after Lewis' injury last year. I also think that Bolden is a very likely candidate to stick given his versatility, special teams value and how much the coaches like him. Gaffney is a total unknown and would actually surprise me if he made the roster. I also think there is at least a 50-50 chance Brown doesn't make it to the regular season. I, too, hope they draft a big, potential lead back later this month. There will/should be options on the board in the second or third round.

Andy Hart

Are we taking a look @ Southern Miss. wideout Mike Thomas. He ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day. I think he deserves a look. They are giving him a 5th or 6th Rd grade. But game film shows that he may be a legit NUMBER 1. What do you guys think ??

Maurice Upshaw

Thomas, not to be confused with Ohio State wide receiver prospect Michael Thomas, is an interesting guy. He's skinny and has too many drops, but also is certainly a playmaker at the level he played. I'm sure the Patriots are well aware of his talents and limitations, as they are with every prospect. Our friends at NFLDraftScout.com have Thomas as a sixth-round prospect at this point. If the Patriots haven't addressed the position earlier in the draft, he could certainly be in the mix at that point.

Andy Hart

So with the signing of E.J. Biggers, that puts a little more depth at the corner position so now does Belichick sign another due to free agency due to the lack of depth still there or do we wait for the draft? Also, with the addition of Jonathan Cooper and all the young guys we have as backups as well as the starters returning from injury, do you see the O-Line still being bolstered or do we address other needs like corner depth and running back? I personally think that right now we're pretty set, for the most part, with the protection Brady has and wanna know what you guys think. Thanks in advance!

Ty Gray

Biggers is a veteran with experience as both a starting corner and on special teams, but he doesn't make me feel content with the Patriots cornerback situation by any means. I still think it's the biggest need on the team heading into the draft. If the right guy is available at the end of the second round, that would be my focus. As for the line, I think the overall group is pretty much set aside form the potential draft addition of a developmental tackle. Cooper is a wild card. Once a top-10 pick, now he's trying to save his career. This will sound strange, but it wouldn't surprise me if he either started 16 games this year or didn't even make it to the regular season. Regardless, the group of Tre' Jackson, Shaq Mason, David Andrews and Bryan Stork is a nice competitive mix of young players on the inside. Solder will be back from injury. And, maybe most importantly, Scarnecchia is back running the show on the line and whipping the guys into game-ready shape. I think the line will have a bounce-back year in 2016 and that should be a boost to the offense as a whole.

Andy Hart

Do you believe that, with the emphasis most teams place on finding 'complete' RBs who can catch, run and block, that there would be good value for the Patriots to find a lead back in this draft? With Dion Lewis and James White on the roster, could a running back who loses value to other teams because of his limited receiving ability hold more value to the Patriots in a LeGarrette Blount workhorse role who subs out on passing downs? I'm looking at Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker and Kenneth Dixon as guys who are most likely to play that role, where do you think they might go and would you like to see the Patriots draft one of them with the pick preceding that predicted draft spot?

Alex Marr

Certainly it would seem that the Patriots are looking for more of a lead back than an option in the passing game, where Lewis and White do their work. I'm not sure that makes it any easier to find that guy, though, especially in the middle of the draft. NFLDraftScout.com considers each of the three guys you mentioned as potential second-round picks. I really like both Howard and Dixon. I would be happy to see either in a Patriots uniform next fall and think each would bring the potential to add a dynamic to the offense and the running game that's been lacking. I also think both have far more upside than what Blount has been in Foxborough, even though the veteran has certainly be a contributor in his role. I would cheer the selection of either Howard or Dixon at No. 60 or 61 and don't think you'd be likely to get them much later than that. I'm not as high on Booker.

Andy Hart

Hey guys - it might be early to look at schedule but a quick look and you will see 7 opponents from playoffs in 2015. So 6 division games and 7 with playoff experience = 13 tough games. 11 games might be the best we can win this season

Here's the question: what do you think?

Tim Hoops

Certainly, at this point at least, it looks like the Patriots have the makings of a pretty tough schedule this fall. A lot can happen between now and then, but I can't see myself looking past the Ravens, Bengals, Seahawks, Steelers, Cardinals or Broncos, the latter three coming on the road. That said, history tells us that some of those teams won't be as good as we expect them to be and the Patriots will be in line to win somewhere in the range of 12 games this season. Until notified otherwise, I'm going to assume that to be the case. Oh, and the Patriots may have as complete a roster as any team in the game right now. That's a pretty nice spot to be in looking to advance to the conference title game for what would be a record sixth straight season.

Andy Hart

Do we know when a ruling will be coming down on whether or not Tom's suspension is going to be upheld or thrown out? I haven't seen or heard anything lately. Just wondering if it's going to go right down to the wire once again.

Stacy Hanson

According to the coverage from those in the know of the NFL's appeal, the ruling was expected to come this summer. A window of three-to-five months from the March hearing was thrown about by analysts and legal experts. So that could be between June and August sometime. Depending on how that plays out, though, it could lead to further filings from one or either side. As we've seen all along through this Deflategate process, no one seems to really know how or when this thing is going to play out.

Andy Hart

Hi, thanks for responding to this question...If a team offers a 2017 1st round pick to the Patriots for Garoppolo, would you accept the trade? Why or why not?

J. Bains

Right now, I'm inclined to say I would take that deal. I'm not completely sold that Garoppolo, a former second-round pick, is a future NFL franchise QB and Brady's extension throws a wrinkle into any past plans for the backup to ascend to the top job in New England. Now, Brady's suspension does loom in the picture and might alter the thinking of some, but in the end I'd take the first-round pick and run with it. I can figure out the rest.

Andy Hart

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