Bill Belichick annually makes the point that there are multiple parts of the team-building process, and the draft is just one of them. There is also free agency and trades as avenues to add talent to the roster.
As Jason La Canfora of NFL Network noted, this year's free-agent crop could be one of the weakest in recent memory. So teams looking for help in this area won't find too much.
Here are a few free agents in the defensive front-seven who catch the eye as those who could help the Patriots:
1. Jason Babin (Titans) -- Playing end in a 4-3 scheme, he totaled 12.5 sacks last season, which figures to create interest in him on the open market.
2. Ray Edwards (Vikings) -- Would be a restricted free agent under 2010 rules, so he'd likely only be a target in a trade for reduced compensation.
3. Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants) -- Similar to Edwards, would be a restricted free agent under 2010 rules.
4. Matt Roth (Browns) -- Patriots had shown some interest in the past. Could add depth at outside linebacker and has some background in the scheme.
5. Marcus Spears (Cowboys) -- Played in 3-4 defense, at end, under Bill Parcells.