The NFL offseason is in full swing for the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The team made a few splashy moves and trades in free agency and are again in great position for a Super Bowl run. But even the Patriots have a few team needs to address. With the NFL draft less than a month away, it's time to take a look at the top three Patriots team needs.
Although fans might want a new coach, general manager, owner or whatever, only positional needs are detailed here. Needs already addressed via free agency (like trading for TE Dwayne Allen) are not included. With all that in mind, here are the 3 biggest Patriots team needs for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Stephon Gilmore is in town, but Logan Ryan is gone and Malcolm Butler might soon join him. The Patriots are set for the time being, but if/when Butler leaves, a new corner will be needed. The internal hope within the Pats organization is that Cyrus Jones can step up, but he didn't show much this year. With limited needs in a great corner class, the Patriots would be wise to spend one of their first picks on the position.
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Thankfully, Dont'a Hightower is back. If the Patriots lost him, they'd be in big trouble at linebacker. But even with Hightower back, they could look for one more player at the position. They did spend a sixth round pick on Elandon Roberts and played him plenty, but an upgrade could be had. Kyle Van Noy and Shea McClellin are also on the roster, but they fall into the Roberts category: players who can be replaced. The depth in the LB class this year isn't as great as the other two positions on this list, but the Pats should be able to find someone.
1. Edge Rusher
This is far and away the top need for the Pats. Trey Flowers appears to be one long-term piece. The Patriots did add Kony Ealy via a trade, but he's a free agent after this year and has yet to top five sacks in a season. Geneo Grissom was a third round pick who didn't play last year, while Rob Ninkovich can't play forever. It's a great edge rusher class, so the Patriots should spend an early round pick on the position. Not having a first or second round selection makes that difficult, but there will be talent on the board for the Patriots in the third round and on Day 3.