New England Patriots: 3 holes that need to be filled before the season starts

Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots need to fill three roster holes before the NFL season starts to complete their roster and compete for the AFC East title.

Between injuries and offseason neglect, the holes were evident in their first pre-season game against the Washington Football Team, despite the fact that they won.

So let’s take a look at three positions that need reinforcing before September 12th, which is the date of the Pats Week 1 tilt against the Miami Dolphins.

New England Patriots need to fill three roster holes before their opening game

The New England Patriots need to secure another solid tight end

The first hole that needs to be filled is at the tight end position. Oft-injured, free-agent acquisition Hunter Henry is a really solid player when he’s on the field.

The problem is, he’s been injured a lot. His shoulder was dinged up last week. Thankfully, it appears that he’s back at practice. That’s good news, for sure.

Yet, this injury further exposes the team’s ability to deploy two tight ends who can actually play if one gets hurt.

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If Henry is injured for any length of time in the future, and the same for Jonnu Smith, it leaves only one tight end who can really do much of anything at all. That’s not an optimum situation.

The New England Patriots need to make a move, preferably a trade, for another true, NFL-caliber tight end. Now. A waived guy really isn’t what’s required.

The other tight ends on the roster are last year’s third-round flop, Devin Asiasi, Matt LaCosse, a journeyman, and Troy Fumagalli and David Wells, both waiver wire types.

This acquisition is a must for the Patriots’ personnel department. Hopefully, they will realize this, as it was imperative even before Henry’s injury. Now, even with Henry returning, it is still essential.

The New England Patriots still need to add a top wide receiver

This New England Patriots’ need existed after the team acquired both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency and it still does now. The Patriots need a number one receiver.

Arguments for an aggressive move for Julio Jones weren’t heeded and it’s now clear, especially with an injury to Agholor, that’s there’s not much left on the plate since Julian Edelman retired.

The New England Patriots are setting themselves up for another season of mediocrity if they don’t move to bolster their attack on the outside at receiver.

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An example of what the lack there can cost was the drop of a perfectly thrown long ball by Mac Jones in the preseason opener that hit the hand of second-year receiver Kristian Wilkerson.

A top receiver would likely have caught that ball (Wilkerson should have also). When the ball hits a receiver’s hands, it should be caught. Period.

That miss not only cost New England seven points, but also an opportunity to boost the team’s, the young quarterback’s, and the young receiver’s confidence, as well. It was a big miss.

There still may be time to move for a top receiver. It will be costly, but perhaps New England can add a player or players to the deal to soften the draft pick hit.

Expendable players may include Sony Michel, a good running back in an area of relative strength for New England, and maybe even a defensive player like Deatrich Wise, Jr.

Whatever it takes, it needs to be done.

The New England Patriots need to add quality offensive line depth

The third need the New England Patriots have that is also one that can’t be ignored is to add solid offensive line depth. The Patriots didn’t address that issue until the sixth round in the 2021 draft.

William Sherman was the pick. He may turn out fine, but he’d be another smaller tackle/guard even if he does stick on the roster. That’s not what the team needs.

The Patriots need a big offensive tackle who can step in as a starter if either Isaiah Wynn or Trent Brown is injured. Wynn is a smaller left tackle who perennially misses games.

An injury of either starting tackle would demolish the team’s hopes this season. Justin Herron is the top backup and is not starter material.

Also, the interior line has been seriously impacted by an injury to starting center, David Andrews, though he also has evidently returned to practice after missing the first preseason game. That’s good news.

But there is other troubling news. The top back-up at both center and guard, Ted Karras, is also out injured.

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New England has little behind these two stalwarts. If either is out for an extended period of time, it could devastate the offensive line.

So, those are three positions on the New England Patriots that need to be addressed if the Patriots are to be able to withstand the rigors of a 17-game NFL season and make the playoffs.

Do you agree with these evaluations? If not, what positions do think the New England Patriots need to further strengthen before the season, if any? We’d like to hear your views.