The New England Patriots top offseason need isn’t what you think it is

New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (76) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (76) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots top need in the 2022 offseason may not be what you think it is. This position of need is crucial to the team’s success in the future, and could be the difference between the offense succeeding and failing.

Indeed, the 10-7, 2021 version of the Patriots started slow, reversed field, and came on strong midway through the season. All that momentum came crashing down with a big thud that resulted in the team losing four of their final five games, which culminated with a blowout loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs.

That’s not good enough and there’s a lot of work to be done if things are going to get appreciably better. Top needs include a No. 1 wide receiver (or ideally two), faster linebackers, and defensive backs. And then there’s the top priority, which is offensive left tackle.

Why the New England Patriots top need is a new left tackle

Identifying a team’s top necessity in an offseason is seldom an easy chore, especially when there are several, as in the case of the New England Patriots. All of the above and more are required.

But there are three major reasons why addressing the left tackle spot high up in the draft, in the first or second round, is the top priority. First, the Patriots are thin at offensive tackle, very thin.

Their best tackle, Trent Brown, is a free agent. He absolutely needs to be re-signed. Letting him go a second time would be a sheer personnel management folly.

Their starting left tackle last season was Isaiah Wynn. Wynn is a good football player and will likely be on board (barring a trade, which is recommended here) in 2022.

Yet Wynn is woefully undersized for a left tackle. He could be moved to the right side or inside to a guard position and he’d be an asset at either position. It would be in both his and the team’s best interests for such a move to be made.

They need to replace him with either a re-signed Brown, a veteran free agent (though the crop is thin after some recent re-signings), or a top rookie who can step right in.

Rookies who could fit the bill include Daniel Faalele of Minnesota or Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa. Both are massive in size and length. Either would bookend very nicely with Brown, or maybe even step right into a tackle spot immediately.

Size can’t be overestimated in its importance at the tackle position. The best alternative is Brown is re-signed to play left tackle and the rookie top pick starts out on the right side.

New England Patriots offensive tackles are the key to the offense

A second reason why the offensive tackle position has to be the top priority is that this position is the key to pass-blocking. With young Mac Jones at the helm, this team can pass if he has time.

Provide adequate time to pass for the team’s No. 1 asset, Jones, and add a No. 1 wide receiver or two, and he will tear opposing defenses to shreds. Jones has his own offseason objectives to achieve, but he needs help to be all that he can be.

The offensive line is also central to run-blocking and having a mobile mountain or two plowing the road for the Patriots’ excellent stable of running backs will remain a key to their offensive success.

Another reason why the line overall and the tackles are so critical to the team’s success is that their work not only helps put points on the scoreboard but it also assists the defense.

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By gashing big holes in the defensive front and allowing the running backs room to maneuver, the offensive line, armed with two massive tackles, makes the running game work.

Great running and top passing control the clock, keep the ball away from the opposing offenses, and rest the Patriots defense. That’s a vital combination that works for the entire gameday effort.

Those are the thoughts here on the top Patriots offseason priority. What are yours? We’d certainly like to hear in the comments.