2018 New England Patriots Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Tom Brady||Brian Hoyer|
|Running Back||James White||Rex Burkhead||Sony Michel|
|Left Wide Receiver||Chris Hogan||Julian Edelman||Cordarrelle Patterson|
|Right Wide Receiver||Josh Gordon||Phillip Dorsett||Matthew Slater|
|Tight End||Rob Gronkowski||Dwayne Allen||Stephen Anderson|
|Left Tackle||Trent Brown||LeAdrian Waddle|
|Left Guard||Joe Thuney||BrianSchwenke||Ted Karras|
|Center||David Andrews||Brian Schwenke|
|Right Guard||Shaq Mason||Ted Karras|
|Right Tackle||Marcus Cannon||LaAdrian Waddle|
Despite consistency hosting winning season after winning season, the New England Patriots are often the team facing the greatest adversity heading into training camp. Coaches are featured during in-season play, often vying the attention of other franchises for contract increases and higher-ranking positions. The same goes for the player pool as anyone who has been through the Patriot system is often afforded higher value to opposing franchises. This often leaves a roster with holes to fill in the off-season.
One position area where the team has excelled is the wide receiver core. Consistent talent after consistent talent has been guided through the system to boost player value and to give Tom Brady the targets he needs to be successful. Losing Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola was a huge punch to the gut for this team. The team is already without Julian Edelman for the first 6 games of the season, leaving Chris Hogan as the only remaining starter left on the roster. The team went out and signed Cordarrelle Patterson, a talent that often utilizes his speed to blow by defenders. Patterson is better suited in the return game, which is why he represents an interesting talent for the team. Belichick is often known for signing guys who are on their final stretch of their careers or players who have failed to overcome adversity early in their time within the league. Continuing upon these attributes, the team also added Jordan Matthews. Jordan’s career has been shortened due to injuries, but he once held favorable matchups over opposing corners in the NFC. Replacing the roles that Cooks and Amendola filled is not something that will happen overnight. The team chose to differ their approach, signing bigger players as opposed to the shorter, speedy talents they have favored in the past. This may lend insight into a new-looked offense for a team that saw their offensive coordinator sign elsewhere this off-season. This roster favors downfield play with deep threat capabilities, favoring Tom Brady’s ability to air out the football this season.
The offensive line took a massive hit when Nate Solder signed free-agent tender elsewhere. Solder was a model of consistency at the offensive tackle position, often creating a wall to protect the blind side of Tom Brady. He was Brady’s ultimate sense of security and replacing him is not something that can take place overnight. The team found his replacement in the draft with their 23rd overall selection, Isaiah Wynn. Wynn has some competition with Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon at the outside. The team already affords some good depth at the offensive line position, creating an in-camp competition for starting roles. Anytime a team can feature position battles at the offensive line, you know and understand they have the depth covered throughout this front.
The biggest concern for the offensive attack is the age of the players. While many would consider this stance a boost to veteran leadership, it often begs to ask the question of production gained from these talents. The time clock is already ticking for Tom Brady and it is only a matter of time before he decides to hang up the cleats. A new offensive coordinator and a re-looked offensive attack should keep the team in contention and will continue to surprise the league with different offensive sets.
The largest issue faced by the defense is their inexperience within roles. New England loves to shift their players to new positions to give their defensive attack an element of surprise. This works out well for the shifty players, but often deteriorates the defensive line over time. This newer approach eliminates the need for a nose tackle or bigger bodies plugging up the middle. It favors quickness on the outside, which is an area where newcomer Adrian Clayborn and Kyle Van Noy will have to improve. The team already possesses one of the league’s best edge rushers in Dont’a Hightower, but his skill set is only as effective as the production of his counterparts. Tying this unit together to perform as a single body will allow for the team to host these flex looks and place players within beneficial roles to their skill sets.