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):
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.