3 things New England Patriots need to do to get back to the Super Bowl

Brandon Bolden #25 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Brandon Bolden #25 of the New England Patriots. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Ja’Whaun Bentley #8 and Dont’a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots second step to get back to the Super Bowl: Get younger on defense

For the most part, the Patriots defense during the 2021 season was pretty solid. They allowed the second fewest points among defenses in the league, and their dominant stretch midway through the season was reminiscent of the 2019 “Boogeymen” unit that is generally considered one of the best defenses in league history. But their collapse at the end of the season shows change is needed.

New England has relied on stalwarts such as Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower to lead their defense for the past 10 years or so, but with both set to hit free agency, it may be time to move on from them. Prioritizing bringing back younger guys like J.C. Jackson and Ja’Whaun Bentley should be the goal for the defense, and a solid draft could really minimize the impact of their potential departures.

In terms of getting younger, the Pats already have some solid pieces in place on their defense. Bringing back two solid players in Jackson and Bentley would help, but guys like Kyle Dugger and Christian Barmore provide a solid foundation for the next great Patriots defense. Even if Jackson and Bentley re-sign, it’s clear work needs to be done.

Drafting on defense simply has to be better. There are a number of players from recent drafts, such as Joejuan Williams and Chase Winovich, who have simply flopped, and they are close to being joined by Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche is nothing changes over the next season or two. You cannot keep wasting draft picks on players that don’t pan out, which is why New England has been so reliant on their veterans.

Similar to offense, this is something that needs to be continued over the next couple of seasons. It would make sense for the Patriots to invest a high draft pick in a linebacker to anchor the defense from the middle, but the problem is you can make a case they could use another cornerback or interior lineman too. The defense needs a lot of work, and it’s not going to be accomplished in one offseason, but with a couple of strong years this unit could once again become deadly.