Patriots Draft Profile: Andrew Booth Jr Is A Low
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Related: 2022 Draft Profile: Drafting Chris Olave would give Mac Jones his first true number one receiver What are the New England Patriots going to do with J.C. Jackson? That, above all else, is the question that should be on everyones minds this offseason when it comes to the construction of the 2022 Patriots defense. Things have gotten interesting, over the last few weeks regarding Jacksons status with the team. Hes entering unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career, and just about everyone in the…
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Will The Team Legends Return
In the coming days and weeks, we’ll find out what some Patriots veterans like Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, James White and Matthew Slater have planned for their future. With multiple championships and nothing left to prove, it could be the end of the line for some of the most important locker room leaders.
All are also due to hit free agency, so if any do have a desire to keep playing the team will have to weigh which direction to go. Clearly, the Patriots need to put long-term plans in place at their important positions regardless. A balanced linebacker, a ball-hawking free safety and a third-down pass-catching back should all be near the top of the offseason priorities.
Unfortunately, there would be no easy way to replace the experience and leadership that those players all bring and turnover would bring some uncertainty on and off the field.
Pick: Leo Chenal Lb Wisconsin
Renner’s Analysis:“Chenal isn’t for everyone’s scheme, but any of Belichick’s disciples will love the skill set he brings to the table. The Wisconsin product has the block-beating ability and football IQ to seamlessly replace Dont’a Hightower. He recorded the highest run-defense grade and second-highest pass-rushing grade among linebackers in college football last year.”
for Michael Renner’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Mike Dussault, Patriots.com Staff Writer
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Burning Patriots Offseason Questions
The Patriots bounced back from a disappointing 2020 season to win 10 games and get back into the playoffs in 2021. As always, there are plenty of hard decisions to make this offseason and while there are several promising young players who should make strides heading into 2022, there are also a number of established veterans that are coming toward the end of their careers, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Turnover in the NFL is inevitable. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, and though championships are never won in the spring, last year showed how much solid free agent and rookie classes can improve your team.
The Patriots don’t have the same kind of cash and space this year, so they’ll have to be selective on how they continue to build around quarterback Mac Jones and reinforce a defense that limped down the stretch of the 2021 season.
Here are the 10 big and burning questions that will define the Patriots offseason!
Pick: George Pickens Wr Georgia
NOTE: Projects a trade with the Green Bay Packers to move back to the 28th pick.
Reuter’s Analysis:“Pickens has an elite skill set as an outside playmaker and proved his work ethic coming back from a torn ACL in the spring to be a factor in the late stages of the Bulldogs’ title run. He’s worth the investment at this point of the first round.”
for Chad Reuter’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Michael Renner, Lead Draft Analyst, Pro Football Focus
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Pick: Chris Olave Wr Ohio State
Perry’s Analysis:“The Patriots were one of the most inefficient passing attacks when throwing deep down the field . One way to solve that issue? Lock up one of the fastest wideouts in the class. Not only does Olave have real track speed — he’s expected to run his 40 yard dash in the 4.3-second range at the combine — but he’s also considered one of the smoothest route-runners available. He might not be a big-play threat after the catch. His frame could limit him against press corners. But he knows how to separate at all three levels of the field. He’ll make the Patriots offense more explosive and he’ll give Mac Jones a go-to option with a top-end gear to threaten the deep portion of the field.”
for Phil Perry’s full mock draft.
Best Landing Spots For Jarvis Landry
WR has hinted that he may be a cap casualty this offseason. Four teams that might be interested if he’s cut
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What Does A Year Two Jump Look Like For The Rookies
There will be plenty of excitement to see Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson in their second seasons, all had outstanding rookie years and are poised to be even bigger impact players with a year under their belts.
Jones especially will benefit from a chance to catch his breath from a whirlwind 2021 while entering the offseason strength and conditioning program that should pay dividends on the field.
But the top trio isn’t alone, as Ronnie Perkins, Cameron McGrone and Joshuah Bledsoe are all on the cusp at position groups that could see significant turnover. They could all have major opportunities to jump into the mix.
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Pick: Devin Lloyd Lb Utah
Cherepinsky’s Analysis:“Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy will both be 32 during the 2022 season. Bill Belichick may want a young linebacker. Devin Lloyd can be used outside or inside in a 3-4 , as he’s an athletic defender who has impressed as both a pass rusher and a coverage linebacker this year.”
for Walter Cherepinsky’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Analyst
Pick: Jahan Dotson Wr Penn State
Galina’s Analysis:“The Patriots are bereft of receiver talent, so they select the quick and shifty Dotson. Patriots receivers, outside of Jakobi Meyers, had a tough time separating against man coverage, and the Penn State product should help in that area. Dotson will give New England a deep threat who would pair nicely with some of the underneath and intermediate route runners already on the roster.”
for Seth Galina’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Lance Zierlein, NFL Media Draft Analyst
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Pick: Trent Mcduffie Cb Washington
Wilson’s Analysis:“J.C. Jackson and Jalen Mills have seen the majority of snaps at cornerback for the Patriots. Jackson is currently out of contract, and he’ll rightfully be looking to get paid in the offseason. If the Pats want to add depth in the secondary, targeting a CB here would make sense and McDuffie would end up being one of the best defensive backs in this draft class.”
for Ryan Wilson’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Zack Patraw, SI.com
Pick: Nakobe Dean Ilb Georgia
Iyer’s Analysis:“The Patriots need to replace middle man Dont’a Hightower, who will become a free agent ahead of his age 32 season. Bill Belichick should love a player who can play anywhere and do anything on the second level and also quickly emerge as a leader, what he was for a dominant Bulldogs defense. Dean can flat-out fly and make a lot of plays from sideline-to-sideline wherever he’s lined up.”
for Vinnie Iyer’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Bucky Brooks, NFL.com
Pick: Kyler Gordon Cb Washington
McShay’s Analysis:“The Patriots were second in passing yards allowed per game , tied for second in yards allowed per pass attempt and second in interceptions . And they were one of three teams to keep opponents under 60% completion percentage. But the back seven could lose several starters to free agency, including cornerback J.C. Jackson, safety Devin McCourty and linebacker D’onta Hightower. It could also use an influx of speed in that area, of which Gordon has a ton. His versatility and ability to jump routes would also be welcome on one of the league’s top defenses — and he’d make the potential loss of Jackson a little easier to handle. Linebacker and safety are two other areas to watch, and I’d watch how the receiver class is playing out as New England nears its pick. Ohio State’s Chris Olave would give quarterback Mac Jones a smooth route runner with great separating speed. Alternatively, Alabama’s Jameson Williams will likely miss some time but could end up the top receiver in the class. Bill Belichick would find ways to get the ball into his hands.”
for Todd McShay’s full mock draft.
EXPERT: Chad Reuter, NFL Draft Analyst
How To Plug Offensive Line Holes
Starting left guard Ted Karras and right tackle Trent Brown are both up for free agency after playing out their one-year deals to return to the team. It’s not hard to see either getting a third contract with the Patriots, as both expressed how happy they were to return to New England last offseason.
Their futures could be tied to Michael Onwenu, who seemed headed for the starting left guard spot this season until injuries forced some juggling and the team ultimately found consistency with Karras at guard and Onwenu serving as a third tackle. What does 2021 mean for Onwenu’s future? Will he go back to tackle? Will he be ready to outperform Karras at guard?
Either way, with Isaiah Wynn hitting the final year of his deal, the Patriots have long-term questions at tackle. Brown and Karras’ return would provide some continuity but finding long-term answers on the edges is especially important.
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Could There Be A Bombshell Awaiting
Lastly, if you’ve followed the Patriots for long you know to expect the unexpected and that surprises and shocking moves are usually par for the course. What might Bill Belichick have up his sleeve this offseason? Without a ton of cap space to maneuver it could require the Patriots get creative and few teams are better at getting creative during the offseason to make impact moves.
A trade for a big-time receiver, everyone’s already all over Calvin Ridley, or to reinforce the secondary could make a lot of sense. Once the pieces start moving everything else will fall into place.
It was a nice bounce back season for the Patriots, but there’s still a lot of work to do and a ways to go. Hopefully 2022 will again be another step in the right direction.
Dj Chark Is An Intriguing Option For The Patriots
Injuries have been a major factor for Chark during his brief NFL career. The 25-year-old out of LSU missed 13 games in 2021, and he has missed a total of 22 in four years.
The 64 speedster showed flashes of what he could be on the football field in 2019 when he hauled in 73 catches for 1,008 yards and 8 TDs. Chark was elected to the Pro Bowl for that season, but the 2020 season saw a bit of a falloff.
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Chark missed three games and his production dipped. In 2020, Chark had 53 receptions for 706 yards and 5 TDs, and he missed three games. The 2021 season was especially bad for Chark. He played in just 4 games making 7 receptions for 154 yards and 2 TDs.
Because he is still so young, he still has some upside. If he can remain healthy, he could produce like a No. 1 receiver. Thats something the Patriots desperately need. With all due respect to Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, Chark would likely come in and become the top receiver in New England if he was signed.
With Chark coming off such a poor season in 2021, it might be unrealistic for him to sign a long-term and lucrative deal. Instead, a one-year contract that is worth $7 million for the 2022 season might be more in line with what he can expect. That also figures to be the kind of deal the Patriots would be willing to offer considering it wont time them up for years to come.
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New England Patriots Boss Robert Kraft Leads Tributes After Tom Brady Retirement
Tributes have poured in from the NFL and beyond after seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement.
After a false alarm on Saturday evening, Brady made his official announcement on Tuesday following an illustrious 22-year career.
The New England Patriots, where Brady spent the first 20 years of his career and won six of his seven Super Bowls, were conspicuous by their absence in his retirement announcement and list of thank-yous but owner Robert Kraft paid a warm tribute to his former player.
It was quite the ride.
New England Patriots
Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career, Kraft wrote.
A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true. I have the greatest respect for Tom personally and always will.
Bruce Arians, Bradys coach for the last two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was also quick to congratulate him.
Memories to last a lifetime. Thank you, 12.#GoBucs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom joined us as the greatest football player of all time and he set a standard and helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop, he said in a statement released by the team.
How Can The Offense Take The Next Step
Aside from the offensive line and the question at third-down back, the offense will mostly return intact and that’s good news for Mac Jones, who will at least be throwing to the same pieces he had last year. The Patriots offense was effective for much of the year with the rookie and the new pieces around him. That experience should point toward improvement in 2022, but will it be enough to compete with likes of the Bills?
The Patriots offense needs another dimension to it, but in the form of a veteran via free agency or trade? Or should the team take a chance on yet another loaded rookie wide receiver class in the draft? A versatile and explosive option could be a game-changer as the team looks to build around Jones’ strengths.
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Kyle Lauletta Seemed Like A Good Fit For The Patriots In 2018
Back in 2018, Lauletta seemed to have all of the skills and traits the Patriots are know to covet in signal callers. Coming out of Richmond, one analyst called him the potential successor to Tom Brady.
Lauletta wound up drafted by the New York Giants in 2018 in the fourth round. His career in the NFL consisted of 5 incomplete passes that season, and he hasnt played in the league since. However, Lauletta is getting a second chance to make an impact as a professional quarterback.
The Richmond alum, who is 26 years old, enjoyed a standout career at Richmond where he threw for 10,465 yards, 73 TDs and 35 interceptions.
Pats Pulpits Evan Lazar made an excellent case for the Patriots to draft Lauletta.
The Patriots were in the middle of a playoff run when the Kyle Lauletta hype train began in New England last January, Lazar wrote. Laulettas fast processing skills, accuracy, and feel for the game make him a viable option to be Tom Bradys eventual successor. And his weaknesses as a quarterback are similar to what scouts said about both Brady and former Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo .
Phil A. Perry of the Patriots Talk podcast gushed over the potential Patriots connection with Lauletta.
Reviewing Mac Jones Rookie Campaign
Jones finished his rookie year with an 80.4 PFF grade the best among all rookie quarterbacks and tied for 11th-best overall at the position. He joined four other rookie quarterbacks in the last decade Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Baker Mayfield and Robert Griffin III who earned an 80.0-plus PFF overall grade in Year 1 .
Cerebral is the best way to describe Jones play. His accuracy, timing and processing ability stood out during Alabama’s national title run in 2020, and those traits translated nicely to the NFL. He is a quick and decisive decision maker, whose 2.6-second average time-to-throw tied for the 10th-quickest in 2021 and is the eighth-quickest among all rookies in the last decade.
He naturally gets through his progressions to find the open receiver and didn’t make many bad decisions or forceful throws during his rookie campaign. Thats not to say he didnt have a few boneheaded rookie plays, but he was much better in that area than the typical rookie quarterback, as his 2.5% turnover-worthy play rate which ranked sixth among all quarterbacks in 2021 can attest. This isnt because Jones doesn’t take risks or check the ball down too much. In fact, his 7.6% checkdown rate was over 2.5% lower than the rookie leader in that category.
Just take a look at this play during New Englands Week 4 primetime matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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