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Around the AFC East: New England Patriots

Back with round two of this week's "Around the AFC East."

It's time to talk Patriots.  And to do that is MaPataFan from Pats Pulpit:

Matty I: I know I asked about the secondary last time, but two players in particular I have questions about.  Rodney Harrison is entering the final year of his contract.  What kind of contribution do you expect from him in '08 and do you think he'll be back beyond this season?  Also, last year's 1st round pick, Brandon Meriweather, has been rumored to possibly switch from safety to corner.  What do you expect his role to be this season and will be make the kind of impact that a former 1st round pick should make entering year #2?

MaPatsFan: Harrison is 35 and, as you state, in the last year of his contract.  Even though he's been a huge asset to the team (and sometimes distraction, re: HGH), Belichick would not renew his contract in a heartbeat if he wasn't making the grade.  It's even questionable whether he'll be back for 2008.  He's slowed significantly in recent years, verboten for a position that is, in essence, the last line of the defense.  Brandon Meriweather is, I believe, primed to provide support in the safety position.  Mostly a special teams and nickel back for speciality packages, he's showed he has the goods.  Let's not forget James Sanders; he's racked up some impressive stats over the last few years.  The recently acquired FA Tank Williams will add depth and experience.

There have been rumors circling that Meriweather will move to CB, but I don't see it happening.  He certainly has the ability and his duties as a nickelback give him the ball hawking skills to pull it off, but there's currently no fewer than 8 corners on the roster for the Patriots.  Only 2 are rookies (Wheatley and Wilhite) while the rest have from 1-10 years experience.  I don't see him moving to corner unless something goes horribly wrong with all those guys.

My Take: I personally like Meriweather and think he'll become a very good safety in this league, which really pains me because he is, afterall, a Patriot.  As for Harrison, I really don't like the guy.  He's a cheater and, in my opinion, shouldn't of ever have been allowed back in the NFL after his HGH situation.  He's also a dirty player and loves to run his mouth.  But it's not up to me, so my opinion is basically worthless.

Anyways, head over to Pats Pulpit to see my response to MaPatsFan's question.