Breaking down the players acquired by the Patriots in free agency
|03.19.12 at 9:05 pm ET|
Here’s a look at the players the Patriots have acquired in free agency to this point and how they project going forward:
Marquice Cole: A 5-foot-10 cornerback who spent the last three seasons with the Jets, he’s known as a special teams demon who should also provide depth in the secondary.
Robert Gallery: A veteran offensive lineman who has played both tackle and guard over the course of his eight-year career in the NFL (seven with the Raiders and one with the Seahawks), the 6-foot-7, 325-pounder gives the Patriots some insurance should Matt Light or Brian Waters decides to retire.
Donte Stallworth: The 31-year-old Stallworth isn’t the burner he used to be, but the former Patriots’ (he was part of the New England offense in 2007, finishing that season with 46 receptions) pass catcher adds depth to a receiving corps that has suddenly gotten a lot deeper than the group that ended the 2011 season.
Anthony Gonzalez: A 27-year-old receiver who has enjoyed success in the Colts’ system when healthy, the Ohio State product will provide depth at the slot receiver position. However, the 6-foot, 193-pounder, who had a career-best 57 catches in 2008, has struggled mightily with injury problems over the last three seasons, playing only 11 games in that stretch. Will provide Wes Welker insurance … if he’s healthy. (Did we mention he’ll be successful if he’s healthy?)
Daniel Fells: A 6-foot-4, 252-pounder who has played five seasons in the NFL, the addition of the 28-year-old Fells brings depth to the tight end spot. He’s not going to take many reps away from Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but will likely preclude the Patriots having to utilize Nate Solder or another tackle as an extra tight end.
Jonathan Fanene: Fanene is a 6-foot-4, 292-pounder out of Utah who will provide depth along New England’s defensive front. Fanene, 29, can play multiple spots, but the Patriots are hoping he can bring an interior presence for their pass rush in much the same fashion that Mike Wright was able to do before he was felled by concussion problems.
Steve Gregory: One of the best options in a lean year for safeties, the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder is an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse who has the sort of positional versatility they crave in Foxboro — he’s played safety, in the slot and on special teams. Will be interesting to see what sort of impact he might have on the New England safety, and Devin McCourty in particular.
Trevor Scott: A defensive end/ouside linebacker who has produced when healthy, he’s struggled since a knee injury near the end of the 2010 season. The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder should provide some depth at the pass-rushing spot, and could be in line for more work in 2012 if he sticks on the roster and Mark Anderson doesn’t return.
Brandon Lloyd: The biggest signing of all. The 30-year-old Lloyd, who has averaged 74 catches a season the last two years, will bring a jolt to the New England passing game when it comes to deep and intermediate routes. The 6-foot, 188-pounder was signed to a ridiculously affordable three-year, $12 million contract.