The Patriots hit all-time low.
The excellent news? They’re already positioning themselves for a rebound.
Under new coach Jerod Mayo, the Pats have overhauled an teaching employees that oversaw one of many league’s worst offenses final season. Their entrance workplace is now led by longtime outsider turned director of scouting Eliot Wolf, a former govt in Green Bay and assistant GM for the Browns. The Patriots are projected to carry the fourth-most cap area within the league heading into free company, and are at the moment armed with vital draft capital, beginning with the No. 3 total choose.
But will they spend cash on veterans? Will they draft a quarterback with one in every of their high picks? However the Pats proceed, the stakes are vital.
The franchise hasn’t received a playoff sport in 5 years, and proprietor Robert Kraft stated he hopes their first-round choose positions the crew “beautifully” for years to return. To put the Patriots again on monitor, the Herald is publishing a every day sequence with 5 offseason fixes that cowl the draft, free company and training.
Welcome to 5 Patriots offseason fixes.
No. 5: Restock the offensive sort out place
Turnstile turned catastrophe.
By itself, the Patriots’ proper sort out place nearly sunk the offensive line in 2022; with Isaiah Wynn, Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Cannon and Conor McDermott all seeing begins. Despite their failures, the Pats made minimal effort to patch the place completely final offseason.
History can not repeat itself.
The Pats could have the prospect to re-sign sturdy proper sort out Mike Onwenu in free company. Onwenu is a rising expertise with greater than 20 profession begins at proper guard and proper sort out, plus expertise at left guard. In three of his 4 years as a starter, Onwenu has ranked among the many highest-graded gamers at his place over at Pro Football Focus.
The 26-year-old will carry a hefty price ticket, after stabilizing the Pats’ O-line with a profitable place swap midseason. Onwenu has publicly expressed a want to remain in New England. If the Patriots maintain Onwenu by way of the franchise tag — a 1-year, totally assured contract that retains the participant at a set price — he would earn $21.2 million, based on Over The Cap’s projections.
By the top of final season, Onwenu and proper guard Sidy Sow fashioned a strong tandem on the appropriate aspect of the Pats’ O-line. Both gamers are at the moment thought to be higher run-blockers than go protectors, however extra time for Onwenu — a guard turned sort out — and Sow, a fourth-round rookie final season, ought to permit for extra growth. The Pats additionally determine to return heart and captain David Andrews and left guard Cole Strange.
NFL Notes: Drew Bledsoe dishes on Patriots’ offensive coordinator, former backup Alex Van Pelt
That leaves left sort out, the place Trent Brown fell out of favor with the teaching employees final season. The 6-foot-8, 380-pounder is one other impending free agent who could also be out the door. If so, the Pats might signal one other behemoth in his place: former Jets top-15 choose Mekhi Becton.
The 6-foot-7, 363-pounder struggled with consistency and accidents early in his profession, however possesses uncommon expertise and could also be turning a nook. Becton noticed extra snaps in 2023 than his first three seasons mixed, and is mostly seen because the fourth- or fifth-best sort out obtainable after Onwenu, Brown, Cowboys veteran Tyron Smith and probably Cincinnati’s Jonah Williams.
Another free agent to look at: ex-Patriots swing sort out Jermaine Eluemunor, who might return following just a few years in Las Vegas. Unless Calvin Anderson enjoys a profession yr in 2024, the Pats do not need a dependable third sort out on their roster.
If the entrance places of work prefers to go the draft route — and Mayo has cited offensive sort out as a high want — a number of choices will probably be obtainable. Notre Dame left sort out Joe Alt and Penn State’s Olu Fashanu are projected top-10 picks. Expect each of them to be on the Patriots’ radar, particularly if the crew opts to commerce again from the third total choose.
If not, Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga, Alabama product JC Latham, Washington left sort out Troy Fautanu and Oklahoma’s Tyler Guyton are different projected first-round picks who may begin Day 1. Several elite offensive sort out prospects, together with Fuaga and Guyton, attended the Senior Bowl, an annual hotbed for future Patriots draft picks. Senior Bowl govt director Jim Nagy has known as this yr’s class one of many deepest in latest reminiscence.
The Patriots ought to prioritize high pass-protectors, particularly in the event that they draft a franchise quarterback to steer them into the Mayo period. Whomever they add, their line’s efficiency cannot get a lot worse than rating useless final by ESPN’s pass-block win charge and bottom-5 based on PFF’s pass-blocking grades; each of which the Patriots managed final season.