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Patriots Analysis

New England Patriots Depth Chart and How to Improve

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New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The New England Patriots have made some moves in the first week of NFL free agency, but there is more work to be done. Some of this additional help will come from the 2024 NFL Draft. But before figuring out what the Patriots need to do it is important to figure out what they have.

Four months remain until the start of training camp. Changes happening before then are inevitable. New England owns eight draft picks at the moment. They also have additional money to use either in free agency or on the trade market. But for now, a look at the 2024 New England Patriots depth chart as it stands today:

2024 New England Patriots depth chart

Offense

Adding a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft seems to be the Patriots’ plan at the moment. The position seems otherwise set for now.

The running back room has a solid lead back in Rhamondre Stevenson, with Antonio Gibson handling backup and third-down duties. Are Harris, Hasty, and Vaughn enough to prevent New England from adding additional help through free agency or the draft? Unlikely. They don’t need to use a lot of capital but there will be another player added here.

Wide receiver has certainly been a focus of fans. They have some nice pieces in Douglas and Bourne. Thornton still has potential and Smith-Schuster will be looking for a rebound season. But if it is unlikely the team doesn’t at least try to acquire more talent on the trade market (Tee Higgins, Davante Adams, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, etc). If not, they will look to the draft, where a solid wide receiver class could see them strike gold with the No. 34 overall pick.

Henry returning to Foxboro is a huge domino for the offense. Hooper can fill the role Mike Gesicki occupied a season ago. There will likely be another addition here, likely through the draft. There is some solid talent that should still be available on Day 3.

The offensive line has quantity. Can they still upgrade their quality? Okorafor is good enough to start at left tackle for New England. Anderson (who says he’s now healthy), Lowe, and McDermott all have starting experience as well. That could buy the Patriots time to work with a developmental tackle taken in Round 3 (Patrick Paul, Kiran Amegadjie, etc). They also need to make decisions about how they view some of the younger backups like Atonio Mafi and Jake Andrews.

Defense

Defensive end is not a position that has gotten much attention as a place where upgrades are needed. However, it would serve the Patriots well to add some additional help/depth here. There are still some quality edge defenders on the free agent market. Adding help in the draft is an option as well. Wise Jr. is not getting younger and White had an inconsistent rookie season. Adding two players to this group would not be a surprise. The interior defensive line appears much more stable.

The linebacker room looks like it is in good shape as well. Adding a Day 3 pick with upside and capable of playing special teams would be wise.

The defensive backs do not include Kyle Dugger quite yet. He received the transition tag, though has not agreed to sign with the New England Patriots (or anyone else) to date. Getting that deal done should be a top priority at the moment. Adding two more safeties in addition to Dugger is needed. Again, players capable of contributing on special teams should be a consideration there, especially through the draft.

Cornerbacks have good numbers and a true number one in Gonzalez. Bringing back a veteran like J.C. Jackson and picking up a rookie could add options to a unit that got decimated by injuries and other issues in 2023.

Special Teams

Chad Ryland needs some competition at kicker. That is the lone move that would be done Hopefully Ryalnd is capable of winning the job after the Patriots used significant draft capital on him last year. A draft pick is not needed, but bringing in a UDFA or veteran looking for work to compete in training camp makes sense.

The rest of the special teams unit is in solid shape. Brenden Schooler is the lone core special teams player not listed elsewhere on the depth chart. Baringer and Cardona are both solid in their spots. New England also has depth at both returner spots.

What’s Next?

A plan to address all of these concerns before the start of the New England Patriots season won’t magically make them Super Bowl contenders. However, it will leave the depth chart looking significantly better in July than it does in March.

One approach to improving how this picture looks:

Sign Kyle Dugger to a multi-year contract.
Find out the cost of acquiring one of the proven veteran wide receivers on the trade market.
Check-in with veteran free-agent defensive ends, prioritizing pass rushers.
See what other bargains exit in free agency, targeting defensive backs.

Strategy for the New England Patriots in the 2024 NFL Draft, without including any trades:

Quarterback (Round 1, No. 3 overall)
Wide Receiver (2, 34)
Offensive Tackle (3, 68)
Defensive End (4, 103)
Tight End (5, 137)
Conerback (6, 180)
Safety (6, 193)
Linebacker (7, 231)

Eliot Wolf doesn’t need to follow this plan to a tee, but it is a good guideline to help get the New England Patriots where they should be by the time training camp gets underway.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports, MLB.com, and many other outlets.

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