- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's time to turn the page and move toward the 2012 offseason. The AFC champion New England Patriots certainly have a lot of questions to address in the coming months.
But what is New England's most important need this offseason? There are several areas the Patriots can use an upgrade.
Do the Patriots need a shutdown corner the most? Patriots fans had to watch New England's 31st-ranked pass defense get carved up all season. Very few had confidence the Patriots would stop Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the final minutes of the Super Bowl with the game on the line, based on what we've seen. Would a stud No. 1 cornerback make the biggest difference?
What about a deep threat at receiver? Quarterback Tom Brady ran an offense based more on precision than going vertical. New England's best deep threat was No. 2 tight end Aaron Hernandez. Would a speedy receiver via the draft or free agent take New England's offense to new levels?
You can't forget the pass rush and a stud safety. The Patriots' two best pass rushers this season were Mark Anderson and Andre Carter. Anderson is a pending free agent, and Carter finished the season on injured reserve. Also, the safety depth needs an upgrade opposite Patrick Chung. In the playoffs, Patriots coach Bill Belichick used starting cornerback Devin McCourty at safety in sub packages.
Vote on the No. 1 offseason need for the Patriots. You can also share your thoughts in the comment section below.