New England Patriots: Top 4 positions of need heading into the offseason

Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots position of need No. 4: Cornerback

We won’t allow recency bias to impact this list more than it should, but it’s clear that the team needs to freshen up their secondary this offseason. They have already gotten a head start by adding Kyle Dugger to their safety room, but it’s probably time to try to draft and develop another cornerback.

Assuming the Patriots return all their starters at cornerback next season (more on that in a second), they would be in pretty good position at the position for the most part. J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills formed a solid top tandem for the Pats during the second half of the season, and Jonathan Jones will be back in action after missing most of the season with a shoulder injury. But the depth at this spot is sorely lacking.

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The main goal at cornerback (and arguably the entire roster) this offseason is to re-sign Jackson. Jackson’s deal is up, and if the team cannot agree to an extension with him before free agency opens, that probably means Jackson is heading elsewhere. The Patriots could place the franchise tag on Jackson, but that’s probably not something they want to do.

Behind their starters, it seems like time to move on from some of the current holdovers on their roster. Joejuan Williams has done absolutely nothing during his first three seasons with the team, and seems set to get released at some point. Guys like Myles Bryant and D’Angelo Ross were thrust into roles they weren’t ready for due to injury, and if they don’t land on the practice squad, it’s not worth holding onto them.

Jackson is going to be the top priority this offseason, and if the Patriots don’t bring him back they could be in some serious trouble at the cornerback position. Aside from that, getting younger in the secondary is something that clearly needs to be accomplished, so maybe a couple of middle or late round draft picks could be used on trying to improve their cornerback depth. The cornerback room is in good position for now, but it could look much different when next season rolls around.