One question asked leading into today's Patriots chat was how many spots on the 2011 roster could realistically go to rookies. The Patriots currently have nine 2011 draft choices, a total that figures to grow when compensatory selections are awarded in late March.
Is that more than will have a good chance to make the team?
Before moderating today's chat, and when considering that the team has made 24 draft choices over the last two years, here is what I came up with for an answer: 10.
Agree or disagree?
Quarterback -- 1
Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer are a solid 1-2 punch. If the Patriots think along the lines of 2008 -- when they drafted Kevin O'Connell in the third round with the idea that "you'll never know when you need insurance" -- a third could fit but isn't a necessity.
Running back -- 1
BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, the top tandem in 2010, return. After that, it's wide open for one rookie and possibly one veteran.
Wide receiver -- 1
Some might argue zero given that the entire depth chart returns intact, but if an explosive talent is the best fit based on the way the draft board falls, the team could tweak other areas to carry an extra player at this spot.
Offensive line -- 2
An immediate Logan Mankins-type starter on the interior, for sure.
Tight end -- 0
After drafting two last year, and with veteran Alge Crumpler under contract for another season, this position is stocked.
Defensive line -- 1
The Patriots have quantity -- with 10 players under contract for 2010 -- but how much quality?
Outside linebacker -- 1
A relentless pass-rusher either in the 3-4 alignment or in four-man-line sub packages should be one of the top priorities.
Inside linebacker -- 0
One of the most stocked areas on the roster with Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton and Dane Fletcher.
Cornerback -- 1
Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden and Kyle Arrington top the depth chart, while a draft pick could challenge Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, Tony Carter and Co.
Safety -- 1
At first glance, it seems stocked with Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung, James Sanders and Sergio Brown, but Meriweather and Sanders enter the final year of their contracts so it would make sense if the team is thinking about grooming another player here.
Specialists -- 1
All set at kicker (Stephen Gostkowski) and punter (Zoltan Mesko), so the only area would be snapper if the Patriots want to go there.