2023 Pats: Offseason

Cellar-Door

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I'd still like to know who's playing at OT next year. Not a whole lot left on the FA market. Donovan Smith, Taylor Lewan maybe??
Brown on one side and either Reiff or Anderson on the other, whichever wins the job. I'd guess Reiff since he seems to win a starting job somewhere every year.
Brown returning to form would be huge for the team.
I think tackle is going to be below average bottom 3rd probably, but not terrible, I think Reiff is better than the 2022 version of Wynn (injuries just destroyed him) and Anderson is an upgrade on Cannon for depth. They'll likely also keep an eye out on who shakes loose.
2024... now that is a real question mark since I think Anderson will be the only guy under contract (plus Sow, but remains to be seen if moving him to T happens, or works).
 

Eddie Jurak

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Brown on one side and either Reiff or Anderson on the other, whichever wins the job. I'd guess Reiff since he seems to win a starting job somewhere every year.
Brown returning to form would be huge for the team.
I think tackle is going to be below average bottom 3rd probably, but not terrible, I think Reiff is better than the 2022 version of Wynn (injuries just destroyed him) and Anderson is an upgrade on Cannon for depth. They'll likely also keep an eye out on who shakes loose.
2024... now that is a real question mark since I think Anderson will be the only guy under contract (plus Sow, but remains to be seen if moving him to T happens, or works).
Yes. One has to believe that O'Brien and Klemm like what they have at OT. I wonder if Onwenu in a contract year is a candidate to be dealt... or moved out to tackle.
 

rodderick

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I think the OL will be vastly improved by a return to a familiar blocking scheme and Brown especially will also likely play better just by virtue of Strange developing. Don't think the pass blocking was anywhere near as big of an issue as it's made out to be either, they were a mediocre to ok unit, not close to a disaster. Good coaching, good play calling and much better play from Mac and they'll be good. The personnel is not the issue.

I just wanted them to get ahead of the fact that they're set to need two starting tackles for next year and I think it's a position where sometimes development time is needed, especially on the left side. But for 2023 I'm unconcerned, if they suck I think it's more likely to be due to injuries or Mac playing poorly.
 

BaseballJones

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Where I think they stand by position groups after the draft (obviously there's still more work to be done...they'll cut guys, they'll pick up other guys, they may make a trade, who knows....but I'm going off their current roster):

OFFENSE

Quarterback: C-/D+
- Mac has a LOT to prove this year. I think he has some real skill, but I also don't think he'll ever be a top tier NFL quarterback. That's ok. You can win a lot with a solid quarterback as long as the rest of the team is in good shape. But last year was a catastrophe for Mac and he needs to rebound this year in a major way.
- Zappe is ok as a backup. Nothing more.
- McSorley and Cunningham offer athleticism (serious athleticism actually) at the position and who knows how that can help. I'm intrigued by Cunningham actually.

Running Back: B-
- Rhamondre is a terrific RB, no doubt. He can do it all. Love having this guy on the team. He should be able to handle the load of a legit lead back in the NFL.
- The problem, unfortunately, is that they don't have a ton of depth behind him. I had thought they'd grab a RB somewhere in this draft. Strong is blazing fast and could be a game changer. K Harris has some ability. Taylor is ok in spots but isn't a guy they appear to be really counting on a ton. I think Robinson could be very helpful. Losing D Harris might be a big blow for them, but who knows. It's a pretty decent group. Rhamondre alone is capable of a huge season. I guess I add Ty Montgomery to this group too?

Tight End: C+
- I think Henry is a good player. Last year's stats were depressed for basically everyone due to how bad the overall offense was. He's a good receiver, but only a modest blocker. Not bad for your TE1.
- I love love love the addition of Gesicki. He's super talented and adds serious pass catching ability to the position. He'll be a weapon.
- Otherwise, Sokol and Lumpkin are just guys. So two good TEs and then....basically not much behind them. I was hoping they'd add a guy in the draft.

Wide Receiver: B-
- I am high on their top group of Parker, JuJu, Bourne, and Thornton. I think that's a good group. Not great, but good. If that group played for Mahomes, they'd look like world beaters, to be honest.
- I love the two rookies they added in the draft. Both may flame out and do absolutely nothing in the NFL. But both have real talent. Obviously Boutte has first round ability and could be the best WR pick the Pats have had in a very long time. We shall see. The talent sure is there.
- The bottom guys are meh, but that's true for every team in the NFL. I am higher on this group than most people here, I admit.

Offensive Line: B-
- They have a potentially very good starting OL in Brown, Strange, Andrews, Onwenu, and Reiff. Not all-pro, not 1993 Dallas Cowboys, not even 2018 New England Patriots level. But solid, and potentially very good.
- I like the guys they picked up in the draft, but I wish they had added a clear OT.
- Honestly, they have so many pretty decent guys and guys with potential right now, it's overload. I don't know how they're going to pare this down, because there's too many guys and no way will they carry like 11 or 12 during the season. I think this lines up for them to trade some of these guys and get help elsewhere.

Offensive Coaching: A-
- This is an enormous upgrade from the F- they had last year. O'Brien is a highly competent offensive football coach, and adding Klemm should help considerably too. These guys will get far more out of their players than last year's offensive staff did.
- In many ways, this represents the biggest upgrade in the entire organization. They alone could help bump Mac from a D last year to a B+ this year. It's very possible.

Overall Offensive Grade: C+/B-
- I'd like to go higher, but the QB questions are the biggest on the team and I just don't know what to say about that. I love the new offensive coaching staff, and I think they'll improve this bunch a lot. I think they have a lot of good talent. Not much game-breaking talent, but that's ok. I mean, I'd love to have lots of game-breaking talent. But a lot of good talent works too.
- I didn't know where to put Marcus Jones, but he's an X factor. He's a game-breaker, but won't likely see the ball a ton. He could be seen as a gadget guy, but he's absolutely electric with the ball in his hands, and I'm hoping they figure out more stuff to do with him.
- On the whole, I think the offense will be decent with a chance to be pretty good. Not great - they aren't competing with KC or Buffalo or anything like that - but they should be pretty decent.


DEFENSE

Defensive Line: A-
- I love the talent with this group. On the ends you've got Wise - who improved a TON last year - and now White, who I think will be a monster. In the middle you've got Barmore and Davis and Godchaux. Their rotation players are all good too: Guy, Ekuale, and Roberts can all play.
- I didn't put Judon in this group, but obviously he plays a lot of edge rusher. Uche too. When they put their hand in the dirt, they're nasty coming off the edge. So I guess add them here, right? They're much more edge rushers than linebackers. Anyway, this group is very good.

Linebackers: B-
- This is where Judon and Uche are listed, so here too? I dunno how to categorize them. But I think they're more linemen than linebackers.
- Wilson is fine. Jennings is ok. McMillan is ok. Tavai and Hall are meh. BB seems to love them a lot more than I do.
- I'm SUPER curious to see how Mapu shakes out. He could be an incredible piece to their defensive puzzle, and he's listed as a LB.
- If we put Judon and Uche at LB, this group is outstanding. If we put them in the DL group, then the LB corps is much worse.

Cornerbacks: A
- This is a superb group, thankfully. I think they'll need it. Jonathan Jones is a solid pro. Jack Jones showed that, as long as he can be on the field, he's a total ball hawk. Great instincts. Can really play. Adding Gonzalez - the best CB in the draft - ups this group tremendously as well and I think he starts from day one.
- Behind those guys you've got Marcus Jones, Wade, Mills, Bryant, and others. We all know how frustrating it is to watch Bryant play, but as a back end corner he's ok. I just hate when he gets a lot of playing time because it seems like he's always giving up a key reception. I hope he doesn't play too much.
- On the whole, though, this group has excellent top-end talent and really nice depth.

Safety: B-
- Losing McCourty is a major loss for the team. But they have three outstanding pros in Dugger (who is about to be a superstar), Peppers, and Phillips. I think Mills may see time at S as well.
- Backing these guys up is Bledsoe, who's ok. I don't love the guys at the bottom of this group and feel like they're mostly special teams guys who have the label of "S" on the roster. So there's not tons of depth here. But the top of the group is pretty darned good.

Defensive Coaching: A
- They have good coaches in this department. Steve Belichick and Mayo know what they're doing, and of course the HC is one of the greatest defensive minds the league has ever seen. It's not like they never make mistakes, but this organization inexplicably turns out quality defense after quality defense, and it starts with BB. Adding more talent in this year's draft will only help.

Overall Defensive Grade: A-
- I think this will be a top 10 defense for sure, but very possibly a top 5 defense.
- I think they'll NEED to be a top 5 defense in order for this team to compete.


SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: ?? I'll say B-
- Hard to say, since I don't know if Folk or Ryland will be their starter. Folk is a good kicker but man, his kickoffs in the last game of the year were brutal. I have to think, though, that their kicker (in terms of putting the ball through the uprights) will be a strength this season.

Punter: ?? I'll say B-
- Again, hard to say. No idea really how good either Waitman or Baringer will be. I will assume they'll be better than last year's disaster.
- Also....they'd better protect the punter a hell of a lot better than they did last year. And I think they will.

Kick/Punt return: A
- Love having Marcus Jones back there returning kicks. One of the most dynamic players in the league

Kick/Punt coverage: B+
- Last year it was a disaster, but I *have* to believe that was a one-off kind of thing.

Overall Special Teams: B
- Which will be a vast improvement from last year.


So where would a team with a C+/B- level offense, an A- level defense, and B level special teams be? I'd imagine right in the playoff hunt. Maybe not enough offense to be a contender, but they should be good enough to put together a pretty competitive season and maybe make the playoffs.
 

AB in DC

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Brown on one side and either Reiff or Anderson on the other, whichever wins the job. I'd guess Reiff since he seems to win a starting job somewhere every year.
Brown returning to form would be huge for the team.
I would be stunned if Trent Brown improves from last year. He is 30 years old and this will be his ninth year in the league. He's more likely to be out of the league in two years than to be an above-average starter.
 

Jimbodandy

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I would be stunned if Trent Brown improves from last year. He is 30 years old and this will be his ninth year in the league. He's more likely to be out of the league in two years than to be an above-average starter.
Trent Brown got called for a false start during this conversation.
 

Saints Rest

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I think there will be a few interesting camp competitions this year.
  • RT/RG. Despite Matt Groh saying that Onwenu is their RG, I think that that will be a decision made by a combo of Klemm, BOB, and BB driven by what they see in camp. I wouldn't be surprised with any of these combos: Onwenu/Rieff; Onwenu/Sow; Sow/Onwenu; Mafi/Onwenu.
  • FS: My most likely candidates: JonJones, Mapu, Mills, Peppers, Bryant.
  • Slot CB: JonJones and Marcus Jones.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I think the OL will be vastly improved by a return to a familiar blocking scheme and Brown especially will also likely play better just by virtue of Strange developing. Don't think the pass blocking was anywhere near as big of an issue as it's made out to be either, they were a mediocre to ok unit, not close to a disaster. Good coaching, good play calling and much better play from Mac and they'll be good. The personnel is not the issue.

I just wanted them to get ahead of the fact that they're set to need two starting tackles for next year and I think it's a position where sometimes development time is needed, especially on the left side. But for 2023 I'm unconcerned, if they suck I think it's more likely to be due to injuries or Mac playing poorly.
Relying on Brown being motivated and impactful (never mind healthy) is a frightening proposition. Not that I have a better idea
 

Cellar-Door

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Relying on Brown being motivated and impactful (never mind healthy) is a frightening proposition. Not that I have a better idea
COntract year Trent Brown.

Also, Brown in his defense had a pretty significant illness last year that he played through in his worst games, he put in some effort there
 

ZMart100

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McDermott did a passable job once he started starting at RT. The line did seem to stabilize a bit in the last few weeks of the season. I hope they can improve at the position, but it's not a disaster if he is penciled in.
 

sal16cal

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I think there will be a few interesting camp competitions this year.
  • RT/RG. Despite Matt Groh saying that Onwenu is their RG, I think that that will be a decision made by a combo of Klemm, BOB, and BB driven by what they see in camp. I wouldn't be surprised with any of these combos: Onwenu/Rieff; Onwenu/Sow; Sow/Onwenu; Mafi/Onwenu.
  • FS: My most likely candidates: JonJones, Mapu, Mills, Peppers, Bryant.
  • Slot CB: JonJones and Marcus Jones.
Onwenu isn’t moving. It’s been brought up time and again over the past two years. They have consistently said they view him as a guard.
 

Ferm Sheller

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Rookie camp starts tomorrow. Here are the (temporary) numbers that the Pats have assigned to their rookies:

50: CB Christian Gonzalez
51: DL Keion White
52: LB Marte Mapu
53: C Jake Andrews
54: K Chad Ryland
55: OL Sidy Sow
58: G Atonio Mafi
59: WR Kayshon Boutte
60: P Bryce Baringer
61: WR Demario Douglas
62: CB Ameer Speed
63: CB Isaiah Bolden
64: QB Malik Cunningham
65: LB Jourdan Heilig
66: TE Johnny Lumpkin
 

SMU_Sox

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I’d point out something Lombardi said about OT for them in the draft is that for where they drafted they didn’t have the grades on an OT that would justify the pick. It’s like I was saying pre-draft that this was not a good OT class and there was basically no depth after day 1. Would you want them to take an OT at 46 or 76 who they viewed as a developmental guy who didn’t even have a starting grade? Then OT is still a need! They viewed Sow as a developmental or starting OT they took in round 4 FWIW.

Boutte is a 6th rounder but he was top 50 on my board. Talent wise this kid is special. I could see a scenario where Boutte and Douglas make the team and they cut or trade Bourne.

I still go back to pick 76 Mapu vs Tucker Kraft at TE. Only time will tell if that was the right decision.
 

Shelterdog

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I’d point out something Lombardi said about OT for them in the draft is that for where they drafted they didn’t have the grades on an OT that would justify the pick. It’s like I was saying pre-draft that this was not a good OT class and there was basically no depth after day 1. Would you want them to take an OT at 46 or 76 who they viewed as a developmental guy who didn’t even have a starting grade? Then OT is still a need! They viewed Sow as a developmental or starting OT they took in round 4 FWIW.

Boutte is a 6th rounder but he was top 50 on my board. Talent wise this kid is special. I could see a scenario where Boutte and Douglas make the team and they cut or trade Bourne.

I still go back to pick 76 Mapu vs Tucker Kraft at TE. Only time will tell if that was the right decision.
One big bouttee issue is whether his athleticism is what he showed early on (like amazing super fast etc) or what he showed at the combine. If he got back to the 21 second 200m guy you'd feel a lot better about his chances for success even if he is a bit of a flake.
 

Cellar-Door

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I’d point out something Lombardi said about OT for them in the draft is that for where they drafted they didn’t have the grades on an OT that would justify the pick. It’s like I was saying pre-draft that this was not a good OT class and there was basically no depth after day 1. Would you want them to take an OT at 46 or 76 who they viewed as a developmental guy who didn’t even have a starting grade? Then OT is still a need! They viewed Sow as a developmental or starting OT they took in round 4 FWIW.

Boutte is a 6th rounder but he was top 50 on my board. Talent wise this kid is special. I could see a scenario where Boutte and Douglas make the team and they cut or trade Bourne.

I still go back to pick 76 Mapu vs Tucker Kraft at TE. Only time will tell if that was the right decision.
yeah, I looked back at the picks to see OT, and I really didn't see a spot where I thought... oh man should have taken that guy. Especially since it's always impossible to know how reasonable a trade up would be. At 14... I'd be fine with Jones, but I thought there was a ton of talent there and I mentioned in real time I thought they should trade down. At 46... like White a lot more than Steen or something, at 76... I guess you could argue for Morris, but feels like a big reach (I probably take Kraft or one of the medical flag guys in Washington and Wilson), and now we're in the 4th... I wanted Warren, but they clearly had Sow rated higher, and I don't think any of those guys (probably not Morris a round earlier either) is a ready now starter over Reiff/Anderson/McDermott, and not sure any has any real advantage over the other in likely 80th percentile outcome.
 

SMU_Sox

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One big bouttee issue is whether his athleticism is what he showed early on (like amazing super fast etc) or what he showed at the combine. If he got back to the 21 second 200m guy you'd feel a lot better about his chances for success even if he is a bit of a flake.
That UGA game he looked almost back to normal. Even if he isn’t 2021 fast he can still be a good versatile WR who excels with RAC. Landry did a lot of damage for years and he was never a blazer for example. Landry was the cleanest comp to him. Tape wise I still think he’s a day 2 guy. Let’s just hope he buys in. Also, I do wonder what was going on with his testing around the combine and how much better athletically he can get the more time passes from his surgeries and with the Patriots program. LSU had a good S&C program but the Patriots are one of the best in the NFL.
 

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Also classic BB: hiring a guy no one's heard of who couldn't crack the starting lineup at Appalachian State and is working at a Zaxby's fast food joint. Jourdan Heilig could be our next special teams ace.

No link because it's in The Athletic (and linked in the NYT).
 

Over Guapo Grande

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Also classic BB: hiring a guy no one's heard of who couldn't crack the starting lineup at Appalachian State and is working at a Zaxby's fast food joint. Jourdan Heilig could be our next special teams ace.

No link because it's in The Athletic (and linked in the NYT).
Here is some of it:

“His hips may not be quite flexible enough to play in the defensive backfield, but he’s not quite big enough to play as an inside linebacker,” Paxton said. “And yet he’s so athletic that you can’t leave him off the field.”

That’s why Heilig quickly found a spot on the special teams units at App State — even as a true freshman. At the time, it seemed like a way to get on the field while biding his time for a bigger role on defense.

But that never came. Heilig remained buried on the depth chart at linebacker.

When Haines, the Mountaineers’ special teams coach, looked over the roster, Heilig stood out. Haines figured if the defense wasn’t going to use Heilig, he would.

“There’s no reason that kid should be sitting on the bench during special teams,” Haines said of his thinking at the time. “I mean, he looks like Tarzan and he can run.”

He put Heilig on each of the four primary special teams units: kickoff, kickoff return, punt coverage and punt return.

Heilig especially stood out as a gunner on the punt team, where he was often lined up against smaller cornerbacks who couldn’t match his physicality. Coaches there still talk about a kickoff play against Arkansas State when Heilig beat a double-team, blasted a would-be blocker on the wedge, then tackled one of the top 15 returners in the country inside the 20-yard line.
 

koufax32

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I can only assume there are pictures of him wearing Ralph Lauren shirts with popped collars and a sweater tied around his shoulders.
 

lexrageorge

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The 5 out of 10 picks from 2020 is a bit misleading as it's presented, as 5 of those 10 picks were from rounds 5-7, and another 3 were 3rd rounders (which historically have had a very high bust rate league-wide).
 

Devizier

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Having just five guys left from drafts that were 3,4, and 5 years ago is normal?
It's actually four, and for one draft it is normal after ~3 years (see the thread by @BaseballJones). Conversation follows from this:
The 5 out of 10 picks from 2020 is a bit misleading as it's presented, as 5 of those 10 picks were from rounds 5-7, and another 3 were 3rd rounders (which historically have had a very high bust rate league-wide)
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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It's actually four, and for one draft it is normal after ~3 years (see the thread by @BaseballJones). Conversation follows from this:
Sure, for one draft, but to have 4 or 5 players in total remaining for three drafts (2018-2020) that were all within the past five years seems light, esp. when the team is hardly a juggernaut.
 

lexrageorge

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Sure, for one draft, but to have 4 or 5 players in total remaining for three drafts (2018-2020) that were all within the past five years seems light, esp. when the team is hardly a juggernaut.
2018 and 2019 drafts were bad; 2019 was historically awful for GM Belichick, actually. But the 2020 draft has produced what one would expect given the slots they had available to pick the players, and given the quality of that draft itself (which was pretty poor overall). Grouping them altogether makes the Pats 2020 draft appear a lot worse than it should.
 

Marbleheader

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Wow, the Firkster is in the fold! Feel free to get your expectations way up for 2023. He had a catch here once!
 

Arroyoyo

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Genuine question. Not sure if anyone here would have insight.

The Hopkins situation: did teams have a hunch he’d be released and that’s why no one offered draft capital? Do these types of rumors go around in league circles and get teams to sit on their hands and wait for his FA?

Just seems odd to me a top WR, in this pass-heavy league, that’s still in his prime, wouldn’t net a couple of late picks when a team can have exclusive access to him, yet hits FA and teams appear to be lined up?

I get part of it was the contract. But for a team in GFIN mode, why risk missing out?