Scouts Inc. founder Gary Horton recently compiled his breakdown of the 32 clubs' needs heading into the offseason for an ESPN Insider feature.
For the New England Patriots, he listed outside linebacker, receiver and defensive end as the primary areas to address. Lumped into the "other needs" category, was offensive line.
At least two analysts think the O-line should be a priority in New England.
Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian wrote a thought-provoking article that takes a look at what would appear to be a strong unit. The Patriots surrendered only 18 sacks in 2009, third fewest in the NFL. In addition to accomplished veterans Matt Light, Logan Mankins and Dan Koppen, they have young tackle Sebastian Vollmer ready in the wings.
For NFL Network and CBS Sports commentator Solomon Wilcots and SI.com columnist Ross Tucker, that's not good enough.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is known for holding onto the ball until the last possible moment to give his receivers a chance to separate. He absorbs dozens of unofficial hits each season.
"The offensive line has to be a concern because everything you do has to start with protecting Tom Brady," Wilcots told Guregian. "You can't get Tom Brady beat up like Tom Brady was beat up this year. He had a year in '08 where he got knocked out. He had a year in '09 where he got banged up. That's how you chip away at their [offensive] fundamentals. That's how you chip away at their timing. That's how your quarterbacks age."