New England Patriots fans are hoping for a brighter future as the franchise shifts into a rebuild this offseason. While part of the fanbase is fantasizing about who the Patriots will select at the 2024 NFL Draft, others are looking back at how the 2023 season's crop of rookies fared after the team drafted 12 new faces last April.
Some Patriots rookies — like Demario Douglas and Christian Gonzalez — had standout performances during their first year in the league. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for every New England rookie as some fell well short of expectations.
Here's a look at three Patriots rookies who are on thin ice after their first year.
1. Chad Ryland, K
With Nick Folk getting closer to the age of 40, the Patriots opted to use a fourth-round pick on Maryland kicker Chad Ryland at the 2023 draft. He had shown a lot of promise with the Terrapins, nailing 97.5% of extra-point and 82.6% of field-goal attempts before being named second-team All-Big Ten.
Unfortunately, Ryland didn't come close to that success as a pro. Although the 24-year-old kicker went 24-for-25 (96.0%) on extra-point tries, he only connected on an abysmal 64.0% (16-for-25) of field-goal attempts. He was a perfect 4-for-4 inside of the 29-yard line but his success rate plummeted from 30 yards and beyond (12-for-21, 57.1%).
To put things into perspective, Ryland only recorded one successful field goal from beyond the 40-yard line from Week 10 and beyond.
What makes the situation worse is that Folk wound up balling out for the Tennessee Titans, going 28-for-30 (93.3%) on XP attempts while leading the NFL with a 96.7% FG success rate (29-for-30).
Considering how important it is to have a competent kicker on the roster, don't be surprised if the Patriots bring in some competition for Ryland this training camp.