Patriots' 6 Biggest Priorities After 2024 Minicamp

What are the New England Patriots' top priorities after minicamp?
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4. Fix kicker Chad Ryland

Anytime you invest a draft pick in the kicker position, it puts a target on the guy's back. When you invest a fourth-round pick or higher on the kicker position, the pressure is almost unbearable. You throw draft status on a kicker and you're almost cursing the guy unfairly. Kickers play a very similar mental game as relief pitchers in baseball. For whatever reason, it almost requires a change of scenery for guys to get right if they go on a cold streak.

Just like pitchers in baseball, it feels like when a kicker can't "hit the strike zone", it has a snowball effect and often gets worse before it gets better.

After making a shockingly low 64 percent of his kicks in 2023, the Patriots brought in competition at kicker in 2024 in the form of former Washington kicker Joey Slye, who has made 82.3 percent of his career kicks. That would be a welcomed increase from what the Pats saw last year, but the last thing this team wants to do is admit defeat on a fourth-round kicker after just one offseason.

Ryland has once again had a tough time getting the ball between the uprights this offseason and now there's an added pressure of the new kickoff/kickoff return rules that further complicates a kicker's overall job.

The Patriots and special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer need to make sure that Ryland is able to come out and win that job during camp.