With Free Agency basically over the Patriots as usual were pretty quite signing Adrian Clayborn and Jeremy Hill, but their biggest move was getting mammoth defensive tackle Danny Shelton in a trade. With the 2018 NFL Draft around the corner here is a look at the New England Patriots Team Needs prior to the draft.
New England Patriots Team Needs
As an unrestricted free agent it was clear that Malcom Butler wasn’t going to be resigned after he was benched before the Super Bowl. With Stephon Gilmore able to handle the bigger receivers, look for New England to target someone with quick hips to handle the smaller fast receivers.
The absence of Dont’a Hightower left a big void for the Patriots linebackers. Elandon Roberts hasn’t developed like they had hoped and the combination of Kyle Van Noy and Shea McClellin are just role players. New England could use a linebacker who can match up in coverage to help improve their 30th ranked pass defense.
Despite finishing 7th in the league in sacks the Patriots haven’t had a true edge rusher since Chandler Jones. Adrian Clayborn was signed from Atlanta and his presence will help but New England could use at least one more athletic edge pass rusher to help out the returning Derek Rivers.
Starting left tackle Nate Solder signing with the New York Giants forces the Patriots have to decide if they feel third round pick Antonio Garcia is ready to take over after being clear to return from blood clots. If Garcia is ready to go adding another tackle for depth would be ideal.
It may seem like Tom Brady is going to play forever, he turns 41 years old next August. With Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett being traded away during the season the Patriots need to find a young QB to groom and eventually replace Brady.
With Rob Gronkowski seriously flirting with retirement the Patriots have to be considering finding either a replacement. Veteran additions like Dwayne Allen and Michael Bennett have not panned out which could lead the Patriots to targeting someone with one of their middle round picks.
Interior Offensive Line
New England has three young players starting inside in Joe Thuney, David Andrews and Shaq Mason that have played well at times but been inconsistent. The Patriots could use one of their day three picks to not only provide depth to the unit but help push the starters.