Patriots Have Yet To Address Their Biggest Offseason Need


Tight conclusion was the New England Patriots’ weakest place group in 2019. Approximately a week into the new league 12 months, it remains so.
The Patriots have introduced aboard seven free of charge brokers as a result considerably — just one receiver, a single defensive deal with, a person fullback, two safeties, one linebacker and a person quarterback — but have however to tackle their deficiencies at limited conclude. That device was the the very least effective in the NFL in Year 1 of the put up-Rob Gronkowski era, and its most effective member (Ben Watson) now is retired.
The only New England limited ends at the moment underneath agreement for the approaching time are Matt LaCosse (13 catches, 131 yards, a single touchdown, five video games missed due to injuries) and Ryan Izzo (six-114-one, 7 healthy scratches). That is a perilously weak depth chart, even if the Patriots commence deemphasizing the posture subsequent quarterback Tom Brady’s departure.
Of class, they even now have a good deal of time to make improvements to it, but the pool of offered veterans is rapidly dwindling. 6 days after the formal get started of totally free company, the only players remaining on the market possibly have major personal injury issues or have not set up starting-caliber quantities in numerous many years, if ever.
Extra Patriots: Examining New England’s Limited Conclude Predicament
The leading 3 remaining absolutely free agents — Tyler Eifert, Delanie Walker and Jordan Reed — all slide beneath that to start with umbrella.
Eifert just played a entire 16-game routine for the initial time in his 7-yr job, surpassing his look complete from the former three seasons merged (14 video games).
Walker was a Professional Bowl collection in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but ankle injuries limited him to eight video games about the past two seasons. He also turns 36 in August.
Reed has endured seven documented concussions, like one particular that sidelined him for the entire 2019 campaign.
With NFL teams at present unable to conduct physicals amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it could be a when prior to any of these players indicator. (Likely trade target Evan Engram is yet another restricted end with personal injury issues.)
The level of quality drops off sharply soon after that major trio. Previous Buffalo Bill and Miami Dolphin Charles Clay is the future-most-attained totally free agent (5 straight 500-garden seasons from 2013 to 2017), but he’s been a non-element in new several years, failing to crack 25 catches or 250 acquiring yards in 2018 or 2019 inspite of participating in at least 13 game titles in equally. Clay also has just 1 touchdown about the previous two seasons.
Ricky Seals-Jones, who just turned 25, could have some upside soon after being non-tendered by the Cleveland Browns. He only caught 14 passes previous year, but 5 of them went for 20-moreover yards and four have been touchdowns.
Even further down the listing are profession backups like Geoff Swaim, Blake Bell, David Morgan, Clive Walford, Luke Stocker, Scott Simonson and Ben Koyack. Lance Kendricks and Eric Tomlinson, both equally of whom experienced cups of espresso with the Patriots in 2019, also are out there.
So, how about the draft? This year’s class is not believed to be as deep or as talented as the 2019 crop headlined by T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, but it does feature some promising prospects, like Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet, Dayton’s Adam Trautman, Florida Atlantic’s Harrison Bryant, Washington’s Hunter Bryant and Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam.
The Patriots met with a number of of the prime limited ends at the NFL Scouting Mix and need to prioritize drafting a single this calendar year — one thing they have not accomplished before the fifth round considering that they nabbed Gronkowski (next spherical) and Aaron Hernandez (fourth) in 2010. Another double-dip wouldn’t harm, possibly.
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Thumbnail photograph by using Winslow Townson/Usa Currently Athletics Pictures

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