With free agency beginning March 11, this is the time in which it's commonplace to see various rankings of NFL free agents. Greg Bedard of TheMMQB.com and Evan Silva of Rotoworld have released theirs, and it's a neat exercise to comb through them and gauge a viewpoint of where Patriots players fall through the lens of a 32-team view.
Bedard's initial list is players 51-100 (the top 50 are coming Thursday) and here were some Patriots-specific nuggets:
1. The 71st-ranked free agent, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, is listed as having the "best fit" with the Patriots.
2. Patriots inside linebacker/middle linebacker Brandon Spikes ranks 67th and the Chiefs are tabbed as his best fit.
3. Receiver Julian Edelman is rated No. 58, with the Texans targeted as his best fit.
4. Running back LeGarrette Blount is listed 52nd, with his best fit returning to New England.
We'll tune in Thursday to see where Bedard has cornerback Aqib Talib rated, as Talib would seem to be the final Patriot for consideration.
Silva's list, which extends from 1 to 150, has Talib as the highest-rated Patriot at No. 10.
Edelman (39), Spikes (47), center Ryan Wendell (90) and Blount (111) are the other Patriots getting a mention from Silva.
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: These lists are always an entertaining read. One common thread that surprised me a bit was the high rating for Spikes. He's a hard-hitting two-down linebacker whose energy is infectious to his teammates. He certainly adds value to any team, but with so much of today's game being played in sub packages (67 percent for the Patriots in 2013), I might have thought he'd be ranked a bit lower.