Newly Added/Retained: Alan Branch (UFA)
Need Level: Low
The Patriots re-signed their only free agent at the defensive tackle position when they re-upped veteran Alan Branch. Branch is part of the defensive tackle rotation with Malcom Brown and Vince Valentine. The trio returns intact and imported defensive end/tackle Lawrence Guy should add additional depth.
Branch anchored a defense which was third in the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed and allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns (per Pro-Football-Reference.com). Branch added a pair of sacks and has some ability to collapse the pocket when rushing the quarterback.
Behind the top trio and Guy, the Patriots have a pair of projects in Woodrow Hamilton and Darius Kilgo. Hamilton held his own when forced into action against Cleveland and Cincinnati early in the season. He has size and power and is worth developing. Kilgo is a potential run-stuffer who can get low and take up space in the running game. The 2015 sixth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos was a rotational player and could earn a role with the Patriots in the near future.