If you had to choose between the Patriots adding an explosive receiver or running back to the roster, which would you take?
Derek: I think people look at the Patriots’ wide receiving corps (Welker, Branch, and then some question marks in Edelman, Tate, and Price) and assume that Brady needs more targets. What they seem to forget is that the Pats have two young tight ends that were, by all accounts, very productive in the passing game as well. Brady doesn’t have a “deep” Randy Moss-like target, but he has plenty of talented options to pass to. I loved what BenDanny Wood-Greenhead brought to the table last season, but I really think the Patriots could use a “franchise” runningback for Tom Brady’s final stretch, similar to how Terrell Davis was able to compliment John Elway. His past three seasons, Brady has looked terrific, but ultimately ran into the wrong opponent who was able to get pressure and stop him. Yes, shoring up the O-line might help prevent that situation, but I also think that developing a rushing attack that teams truly “fear” would do wonders for New England.
Stephen: If I had to choose between a running back or receiver, I would add a big-play receiver. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead are a capable combination, and I think the Pats could add a veteran guy to round out that group. However, Branch can’t be expected to produce at last year’s level, and Welker is in the last year of his contract. Tate hasn’t shown to be more than an occasional deep threat, and Edelman is a slot guy at best. Brady needs a tall, speed receiver who can get open downfield and take the top off the defense. A guy like Julio Jones or A.J. Green would be ideal.
Rick: The Patriots, in my opinion, should focus on getting a big play wide receiver. Tate I would keep around, but I am not sold on Taylor Price from what I saw from him in 2010, but its only one season. Even Tate did not flourish as being the primary deep target in the passing game. I would like to see New England add a guy on the cheap, whether it be Chad Johnson or Braylon Edwards. Johnson is capable of a 1,000 yard season as we saw in 2009 when he is not accompanied by Terrell Owens and he clearly has respect for Belichick. Also, if NE could get Edwards, his primary asset is grabbing the deep ball and expanding the offense. Keep the running game the same, but Brady needs a deep threat.
Jason: From a short-term perspective, I can understand the argument that a wide receiver would benefits the Pats. However, the Pats have sunk a few valuable third round picks into wide receivers the past two years (Price, Tate), and neither player has had a chance to earn much playing time. Bringing in another wide receiver means the Pats either have to give up on a valuable young player with potential or an important contributor on special teams who can easily slide into the starting lineup in case of emergency (like Edelman). I am a fan of the BJGE/Woodhead combo at running back, but adding a more dynamic dimension to the running game would give opposing defensive coordinators one more problem to worry about when gameplanning for the Pats. Given the choice between a big-play running back or receiver, I think the Pats should focus on the ground game.