Official website of the New England Patriots

From the Hart: The 'other' PFW's top FAs!

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Cameron Gordon

Wes Welker is the top New England player listed, ranking No. 13 overall. PFW states the obvious by writing, "Welker is the Patriots' top priority in free agency."

Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the next Patriots free agent on the listing, coming in well down ladder at No. 64. Of Green-Ellis fake PFW writes, "Green-Ellis' calling card? His dependability. He has never fumbled, and he has been a productive member of one of the NFL's top offenses the past two seasons. He possesses good vision and balance and fits the Patriots' scheme well."

One-year Patriot Mark Anderson falls in just four slots later at No. 68. "The pass-rush specialist had 10 sacks in the regular season and added 2½ more in the playoffs, with 1 1/2 coming in Super Bowl XLVI. While Anderson isn't an every-down player, he has shown he can get after opposing QBs, which gives him value in a pass-happy league."

Anderson's pass-rushing teammate and aging Pro Bowler Andre Carter comes in at No. 81, despite trying to come back from a torn quad. "Carter proved he still can get after the quarterback by notching 10 sacks in 14 games in 2011 — his third double-digit sack season in the past five campaigns. The primary questions with Carter are age and health; a leg injury that led to quadriceps surgery ended his '11 campaign in December," PFW writes.

Unproven backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, a restricted free agent, is the final Patriot on the list at No. 96. PFW writes a rather realistic description of Tom Brady's understudy, "Hoyer has shown promise in three seasons in New England, with the bulk of his opportunities coming in the preseason and in relief of QB Tom Brady in a handful of regular-season games. New England is expected to give the backup quarterback a high tender offer. There are some league evaluators who are not sold on him, however."

For perspective, Saints QB Drew Brees is the No. 1 free agent, followed closely by Texans edge force and Patriots fans' dream target Mario Williams.

Also interesting that former Pro Bowl center Dan Koppen doesn't earn a spot on the Pro Football Weekly list.

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