New England Patriots Rundown: Dwight Freeney and Xavier Rhodes
1. The Indianapolis Colts seem content with letting veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney and solid but, sadly, concussion-prone slot receiver Austin Collie go this offseason. Several New England Patriots fans and writers have speculated that the Pats could sign Freeney, because there is a need for a better pass rush in New England.
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I just don’t see it happening, because the Patriots already have plenty of depth at defensive end and the focus on pass rushers is mainly in the interior of the defensive line. That’s why the Patriots went ahead and signed Armond Armstead, which was a great CFL signing. If the Patriots sign a free agent defensive lineman, then it will be Oakland Raiders 27-year-old elite pass rushing DT Desmond Bryant. He may only be slightly above-average in run defense, but Bryant is a terrific pass rusher on the inside and would be a great fit.t Several Patriots fans and writers are already high on him, and I am one of them. And heck, the fact that he went to Harvard doesn’t hurt his case either.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said, “Few people have meant as much to the success of the Indianapolis Colts as Dwight Freeney. He has been a dominant player, which is all the more impressive considering his size for his position, and he has won a lot of games for this franchise. Dwight was an artist, a joy to watch, and the dedication he put toward his craft was a rare quality. We will miss him, but look forward to his future induction into the Hall of Fame and Colts Ring of Honor.’’
In other Colts news, the team could reportedly give the franchise tag to star punter Pat McAfee, who once said that he wants to stay in Indy forever. That would be interesting- tagging a punter.
2. Xavier Rhodes is one of my favorite cornerbacks heading into this draft, and I like the Florida State guy a lot more than Desmond Bryant of Washington. Rhodes brings the size that Trufant does, but he’s also a lot less burn prone. Here’s a scouting report from NE Patriots Draft on Rhodes.
3. Matthew Jones of NEPD also had a great piece up about the impact of losing terrific rookie corner Alfonzo Dennard.
4. Once not even considered a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Sharrif Floyd has quickly caught the eyes of scouts and is now rated as a top-ten draft pick. The former Florida Gators superstar DT was rated over Star Lotulelei by Mike Mayock among defensive tackles. Jonathan Hankins of Ohio State, once deemed a top ten pick himself, was tied for fifth with Kawann Short. Both guys have been mocked to the Patriots.
The guy I prefer to those two was ranked ahead of Short and Hankins by Mayock, and that is forceful interior pass rusher and hard worker Sylvester Williams of UNC. He is the best fit for the Patriots among those DTs, because the Pats need an interior pass rusher.
5. Pat Kirwan doesn’t think the San Francisco 49ers are the team with the best chance at winning it all in 2013; he has their NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, out in front. He does, however, have the 49ers in second with the New England Patriots close behind the Niners in third place. Kirwan based his rankings off of specific criteria and listed five teams in total, but the Baltimore Ravens did not make the list to round out the top five. Who did? The Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos in fourth and fifth, respectively. In all honesty, I can’t say I disagree with the list, except for the fact that Seattle is listed ahead of San Francisco. I have a ton of respect for the Seahawks (they did beat the Patriots last year, after all), but I just don’t think they should be ranked ahead of the 49ers.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.