John Harris of Yahoo! Sports breaks down the Patriots roster by position and argues that the team needs to find an explosive, young receiver this this year's NFL Draft. "Even if Welker stays, the Patriots will have to decide how to build depth around Welker and Lloyd," writes Harris. "Unless Belichick and company are in love with a free agent to complement Lloyd, the Pats will need to target receivers in this draft, maybe more than once." Wideouts such as Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Terrance Williams (Baylor), and Robert Woods (USC) are among the many draft possibilities according to Harris.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com gives his advance scouting report on cornerback Desmond Trufant. Trufant, who will enter this year's NFL Draft out of Washington, stands at 5-foot-11 and weights 190 pounds. He's projected to be an early round pick. "If the Patriots don't re-sign Aqib Talib, and Devin McCourty remains at safety, the need for a cornerback becomes that much greater," writes Reiss. "Trufant has the type of versatility the Patriots seem to value."
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com writes that numbers say Aqib Talib may be receiving too much credit for his contributions to the Patriots defense. "According to stat created by ProFootballFocus.com, Talib was the second worst cornerback in the NFL in terms of the number of yards he allowed per each snap he was in coverage (YPCS)," explains Underhill. While it may be difficult to find the true meaning of that stat, Underhill believes that the performance of the Patriots secondary improved when Devin McCourty was moved to safety. "Reproducing that result next season could be as simple as getting another quality corner on the field and keeping McCourty at safety. Does that person have to be Talib? The numbers say no."
Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald gives the pros and cons of franchising Wes Welker, Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer. Starting on Monday, the team will have two weeks to place the franchise tag on one if their free agents. On Wes Welker, Guregian argues, "Do the Pats really want to risk paying him $11.4 million? Not extending the tag and having him establish his price in free agency - something the Pats ultimately could match - might be a better way to go."
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com takes a look at the key questions for every NFL team heading into the 2013 season. For the Patriots, Prisco believes the main question is "Do they keep right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and receiver Wes Welker or do they let them walk and go younger?" He also adds that Vollmer would probably be the priority.