Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
On Thursday, I asked New England Patriots fans to take part in a bit of offseason whimsy by responding to the following question:
If money, contracts and salary-cap restraints were no object, and you could choose any player in the NFL to add to your team, whom would you acquire?
I solicited nominations from the fans of all four AFC East clubs, and Patriot Nation came out strong. A solid majority went defense, with Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha eliciting the most attention.
Here is a sampling of the responses that were left in the comments section and in my AFC East mailbag:
Ed in Ohio writes: As a patriot fan, and one living is Steeler country, I would have to go with Troy Polamalu. He would toughen up the secondary, and I'd love to see the ways that Bill would use him.
Allie in Fredericksburg, Va., writes: Hey Mr. Graham, I love your blog on the AFC East, it is the greatest. Well, if price were not an obstacle, I think that the Patriots would need to look at their defense. The offense is productive, even if Ben Watson is not the best. I liked the suggestion of Troy Polamalu. Or what about Ed Reed? I think he'd be a great addition as well.
th0mas33 writes: Asomugha is a FA, the Pats should make a serious run at him. He is a classy, smart guy and fits the "Patriots" mold. Plus Asomugha is tough, physical corner like they use to have.
(flashbacks of Ty Law pushing Marvin Harrison around)
Los in Boston writes: Id definately say Asomughua. Put Hobbs back at 2 where hes more solid, and let Asomughua shut down ANYONE one on one. Then we can really get our pass rush on. Our offense is set anyway.
Semi-finalists:Offense: Adrian Peterson
Defense: Mario Williams, Ed Reed, DeMarcus Ware, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Nnamdi Asomugha,
Special Teams: Leon Washington
Finalists: Adrian Peterson, Mario Williams and DeMarcus Ware
Winner: DeMarcus Ware (slightly over Mario Williams)
Most realistic for Pats: Nnamdi Asomugha
Top needs are the defensive secondary and applying pressure to the QB. I think if they could get more sacks and pressure, that would help their secondary. Unfortunately, I would not be surprised if they can only pick up a corner, perhaps Nnamdi Asomugha
beachbumjk writes: Julius Peppers. The pass rush would be awesome plus he drops back in coverage really well. Offensively were fine over powering when healthy. The D needs help Mid line backer or corner but if you have tht pass rush off both ends with speed how much corner do you need and remember the rookies are another year wiser. Peppers would be nice.
The Patriots' defense never filled the void created by Asante Samuel's free-agency departure. A lockdown cornerback to start opposite Ellis Hobbs clearly was how the readers wanted to go in our little daydream scenario.
In the AFC East Blog's Plus One, the Patriots select Nnamdi Asomugha.