Good read from Oliver Thomas on a player who has become more and more focal as the offseason has gone on. I thought the Pats would go after a high-end defensive end free agent to round out their rotation, and there’s still a very good chance they sign Will Smith (for better or worse), but it would appear Buchanan will have every chance to prove he can make a Year 2 jump as a pass rusher.

Can he be a rotational defensive end on every down? Well this article certainly leads us to believe it could be a long shot. But perhaps coming off the edge situationally, Buchanan could provide some spark.

And now here’s my piece from this morning, breaking down the best and worst case scenarios for the Pats. Little bit of a projection going on here, but one thing is for sure, the Pats have had far more success when they’ve taken a player at the bottom of the first round than when they’ve taken one at the top of the second.

Great way to start the week off with this piece from James Christensen. The draft is coming! The draft is coming!

€œI think Will Smith could fit any defense,”€ Belichick said of Smith in 2009 when asked about what he thought about Smith coming out of college. “€œI can’€™t imagine there being a defense that he wouldn’€™t be able to help. He’€™s certainly a guy that we had a lot of interest in. (He’€™s) a big guy that can run, rush the passer, pursue well, strong play at the point of attack, athletic, plays on his feet. He’€™s got a good group of skills. (He) plays hard. He’€™s been productive. I think he’€™s been about the player, where he was drafted, and what people thought he would be, including us.

It Is What It Is » Sunday NFL Notes: For Patriots, it’s a roster-building tradition unlike any other

Not holding my breath if the Pats do sign Smith that he’ll be the impact player he once was, but at this point I’ll take what I can get at defensive end.

Coach Belichick bringing it up this year, and the way he argued it, it really does bring the discussion of instant replay — the future of it — into the light, if you will,
Rob Gronkowski ACL Update

Good news on the Gronk front, though we’ve kind of come to expect that with ACL injuries. Gronk was hurt a month before Welker was in 2009 and he still made it back for the start of 2010. Granted he needed a full year to be back to 100% but it seems possible that Gronk could be ready for the opener.

Who could you see losing their starting job next year if any
Anonymous

Offense:

  • Wendell/Connolly - For reasons stated this entire offseason. I hope they draft both a high-round center and guard to push them.
  • Ridley - Depends on how the draft goes. Technically there is no “starter” at running back, but he could lose the lead running down snaps status to a rookie, especially if he fumbles.
  • Dobson - I’m really not as sold on Dobson as some people are and his offseason foot surgery hasn’t made me feel any better about him. I could see LaFell taking the starting X spot if Dobson doesn’t take significant steps forward.

Defense:

  • Harmon - Not even sure he can really be called the starter at this point, but I’m pencilling him in there, though I could see an open competition with a rookie in camp. Lot of quality “robber” types in this draft.
  • Arrington - I consider the nickel corner a starter but I think Arrington will be pushed by Logan Ryan. I think it’s more likely Ryan starts at nickel than he does strong safety.

At defensive tackle I certainly hope Wilfork and Kelly don’t get their spots taken from them, because if they do they’ve really gone downhill fast. We’ll leave that alone until we see if they’re out there at OTAs.

Why do you think that when the patriots have one of those games were they are thoroughly out played that they don't get blown out
Anonymous

This is something I’ve brought up a lot over the years. Great example was 2011 when the Pats were thoroughly pounded by the Steelers…and lost by eight points.

This has usually been the case with Belichick’s teams, except maybe 2009 when they got smoked by the Saints on the field and on the scoreboard.

I think it really comes down to them building their team with very competitive guys who don’t give up. I know that’s kind of a cliche, but on the Patriots it’s true and it starts with Brady.

How many games last year did it seem like it was almost assured they would lose and they somehow pulled it out?

It’s just a consistent element of the complexion of this team. If you’re going to beat them you have to play perfectly and you have to put them away. Now teams often do put their best game on the field against the Pats - thing the 2012 Cardinals, 2013 Browns. That comes with the turf when everyone gets amped just to play you.

But it just goes to show that when you have a highly competitive team that is extremely well-coached and ready for any situation, it almost always takes a flawless performance to take them down, even when they’re off their game.

29. New England Patriots — Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman: Some feel Hageman has fallen out of the first round, but coach Bill Belichick has a long history of taking big defensive linemen in the first round. Hageman’s motor may run hot and cold but at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, it’s worth a shot for a team with an old front.

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Browns nab Sammy Watkins, Teddy Bridgewater - CBSSports.com

The Hageman bandwagon still running strong. This of course means the Pats will not take him.