To start off the rebuild process for the new era of the New England Patriots, they must address a few areas of need in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The New England Patriots have a handful of positions and needs that must be addressed before the start of the next season.
But at this point in the off season, there is no better way to do that than through this week’s NFL Draft starting on Thursday night.
The Patriots have parted ways with a handful of key players this off season and still haven’t come close to filling those voids and holes. What can’t the New England Patriots absolutely not leave the NFL Draft without?
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After the departure of Tom Brady, one of the biggest areas of concern surrounding the Patriots is the quarterback position.
Jarrett Stidham or…..
Currently, it appears that the New England Patriots are leaning more towards Jarrett Stidham, who is entering his second year with the team after being the rookie backup to Brady last year. The Pats used a fourth-round draft selection in last year’s draft to acquire the Auburn product. It’s at least worth seeing what Stidham can bring to the table.
The Patriots also have Brian Hoyer on the roster, who we already know is unimpressive and unable to get the job done.
We also know that Bill Belichick appreciates and respects Hoyer, so during the early negotiations to bring him back to New England, it was made clear that Hoyer would have a solid chance to compete for the starting job. He does have experience with the playbook as he is now in his third stint with the team after being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent back in 2009.
There is a very strong chance that the Patriots are going to draft a quarterback in a prime position this year.
Upgrade at receiver
The second area of concern in regards to the offense is the need of a pass catcher, whether it be another wide receiver or tight end, it does not matter. Other than the again Julian Edelman, who is the main workhorse for the team, there are not many other receivers on the roster who understand the playbook or who can mirror the type of production that he brings to the table.
The Patriots do have a great building block to work off of in regards to receivers with the drafting of N’Keal Harry in the first-round of last year’s draft, but they are definitely in the market for more.
Improving and upgrading the tight end position needs to be at the top of the list for the New England Patriots.
Considering tight end is a position that is used heavily in the Patriots’ offensive game plans, they got little to no production from the position last year and it had a negative impact on both the passing and running games for the Pats.
A veteran tight end shows value in today’s NFL, so I think it would be beneficial for the Patriots to draft a rookie, as well as searching the open market for a veteran player.
Since the team has just traded the rights to Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that’s probably not going to happen.
Offensive line depth
Surprisingly, the final area of concern for the New England Patriots in regards to their offense is in fact the offensive line. The Pats are relying on Isaiah Wynn to own the left tackle position, but since drafting Wynn in the first-round in 2018, he has spent a majority of two seasons on the injured reserve list and has only played in eight games in that two year span.
After filling in for David Andrews last year, who was out for the season due to blood clots in his lung, Ted Karras signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency, which leaves Andrews as the only center on the roster. Andrews says he feels “ready to go back to work” but we really don’t know where his physical condition stands after being out for a full year.
The Patriots are going to have to consider looking into adding an additional center to their roster as well.
Time to get defensive
Now to the defense.
The New England Patriots lost five key defensive players during this off season that have left the team with huge holes to fill. Kyle Van Noy (Dolphins), Jamie Collins (Lions), Duron Harmon (traded to Lions), Danny Shelton (Lions), and Elandon Roberts (Dolphins) have all joined new teams this off season. The biggest area of concern right now for the Pats defense is the need of middle linebackers.
The only player that is currently on the roster to line up next to Dont’a Hightower in the middle of the defense right now is Ja’Whaun Bentley. And as the mantra follows, Bentley is the next man up to fill the hole and become the next starting linebacker next to Hightower.
The Patriots need at least two more linebackers that can play in the middle, which can be found in the draft, more specifically in the first-round.
Both Queen and Murray are prepared and ready to make an immediate impact on whatever team they land on. These two linebackers are very reminiscent of Jerod Mayo, who was drafted in the first-round, made an immediate impact, and won Rookie of the Year in 2008.
The New England Patriots desperately need to hit on their first-round pick this year.
Seeing as they have a more successful track record of drafting defensive players, it would make sense for the Patriots to draft a linebacker in the first-round this year. Remember, defense still wins championships.