Pats upgrade TE, but OLB remains a problem after the draft

Jermaine Cunningham is the only off-season move the Patriots have made so far to address the hole at outside linebacker. Picture from "Tennessee Journalist" via Flickr.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the reports coming out of the Patriots’ rookie minicamp last week and by all accounts it seems like the tight end position could be one of the most improved following the draft, but I still have worries about the outside linebacker spot, which has been weak of late.

One place I’ve been getting my info is the words of Erik Scalavino of Patriots Football Weekly’s blog reports. He says TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who the Pats drafted in the 2nd and 4th rounds respectively, have been impressive in passing drills and those skills, combined with Gronkowski’s and Alge Crumpler‘s blocking abilities (Crumpler is essentially a tackle who can catch at this stage in his career) makes me feel quite confident about the group of TEs on the roster for 2010 at this point.

Scalavino has also been reporting that Jermaine Cunningham has done nothing to warrant any positive or negative comments all around really, which worries me. One of the OLB positions should be taken by Tully Banta-Cain after his 10 sack season last year, but unless Cunningham is a lot better than I think, there’s nobody else on the team that I like to start on the other side of Banta-Cain. Everyone knew it was a hole in the roster before the draft, and it still is now.

Update: The Patriots did re-sign Derrick Burgess, but I don’t think that solves the problem either.


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