3 positions the New England Patriots need to invest in during 2022 Draft

John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots have a number of positions they need to strengthen this offseason if they are to have any hope of catching the much more talented Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.

For this specific discussion, we will deal less with suggested individuals than with the most critical positions in the draft the Patriots need to shore up to try to close the gap on the clearly superior Bills.

Free agency will also enter big into the discussion, but only if the Patriots are willing to cut ties with some long-standing players whose salaries have overtaken their current abilities.

Let’s start with the key positions in the draft that could help New England strengthen the team that was flattened by Buffalo in their lone playoff game this season.

New England Patriots need to upgrade their receiving firepower

The New England Patriots have definite imperatives on the offensive side of the ball. The first is to select a young wide receiver in the draft to provide the explosiveness that was sorely missing on the 2021 team.

light. Related Story. 3 things the Pats need to do to get back to the Super Bowl

They need to draft a top wide receiver in the first two rounds to rectify a poor decision to sign free-agent wide receiver Nelson Agholor last offseason. Agholor was ostensibly signed to remedy the lack of a big playmaking receiver. He was paid handsomely to do so and he didn’t.

Catching 37 passes with three touchdowns was not going to get the job done for a Patriots team that can’t beat the opposition with big plays on offense easily. Those numbers qualified Agholor as a big-time flop.

Agholor has a whopping cap hit of $14M or so for 2022. Cutting ties with the overpaid receiver makes the most sense even though it will incur a $10M dead cap hit. He’s just not worth wasting the $4.88M the team can save and apply elsewhere. Just take the hit and move on.

Good options to replace Agholor in the draft include two Alabama prospects who will likely fall in the draft due to ACL injuries. They would be Jameson Williams and John Metchie III. Both are outstanding and either would be a tremendous asset to the team when they return to the field.

New England Patriots offensive line needs reinforcements

The Patriots also need a top offensive tackle. This is a solid draft all-around, except perhaps at the quarterback position, so that should be easy enough to accomplish.

There is solid depth at offensive tackle. Two may be available when the Patriots select in the first or second round. They would be Minnesota’s gargantuan, Trent Brown-sized mauler, Daniel Faalele, and the also huge and nasty Trevor Penning of Northern Iowa. Either would be a solid addition.

This space has opined the need for an offensive tackle often. It is the most critical area of the team after the quarterback. Current left tackle, Isaiah Wynn is a solid player but ill-suited size-wise to play that position. He could easily be moved to the right tackle or better yet inside to guard and add value to the unit.

Selecting one of these rookies in the draft, along with re-signing the aforementioned Brown, is an absolute necessity if the team is to keep a clean pocket for quarterback Mac Jones. It’s not an option, but a necessity.

New England Patriots need speed at the linebacker position

A third absolute requisite in the draft is to add a speedy linebacker. One among others who tick all the boxes is Wyoming playmaker, Chad Muma. Though he played against lower-level competition, both his tape and statistics are convincing. Muma racked up 142 tackles, three interceptions, eight tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks last season.

New England may have to get creative and perhaps move up in the draft to snag this great prospect as they did with the electric Christian Barmore last year, but the investment would be worth it. While the Patriots’ recent track record in drafting linebackers is terrible, it may be worth the risk if a player like Muma is available.

Next. Mac Jones talks McDaniels: Michael Thomas rumors. dark

These are three positions that need to be addressed most likely early in the draft. The safe move is to take one of Williams or Metchie in the first round and then fill in the offensive tackle and the linebacker thereafter.

There are other needs on defense like cornerback (especially if the Patriots are silly enough to let J.C. Jackson leave) and edge rusher they need to address, as well. The rest of the picks can then be used further to shore up a defense that was shellacked twice by Josh Allen and the Bills.

Those are the thoughts here on the early picks in the draft. What are your thoughts?