The Patriots will be drafting toward the end of the first round, because they are a quality team heading to the playoffs. New England doesn’t have a lot of holes to fill, but pass defense is the biggest issue. Expect the Patriots to stock up on good safeties and cornerbacks. Talib and Chung are both free agents and may not return. Receiver depth also will be an issue. Welker is playing on a one-year franchise tag and the Patriots are not expected to pay Welker market value for his immense production. The emergence of Julian Edelman this season would ease that blow. But depth will be needed on the outside.
I don’t touch the draft or college football until after the Patriots season is over, but I disagree with this assessment that CBs and Safeties are the primary need.
As I see it right now the main position to target is defensive tackle and I’d be happy to take two of them, and I’d prefer at least one of them is a “get upfield” type.
I really don’t care who the secondary consists of. Any secondary can be managed if your front seven gets consistent pressure.
However my second area of need is directly related to the Patriots struggles covering the middle of the field. I’d like to see a coverage linebacker picked up. Someone who can compliment Mayo/Spikes/Hightower. Dane Fletcher could compete in that spot already assuming the Pats re-sign him after the season.
And I would definitely not rule out a wide receiver, which will certainly make things interesting since they’ve missed on so many of them.