What will the Patriots be wanting from the draft?

The New England Patriots’ 2020 NFL season was one of the most significant in the franchise’s history – and not for good reasons. It was the first year that they had to fare without superstar quarterback Tom Brady and his absence had a clear negative effect.

For the first time since 2008 the Pats failed to make the Playoffs, winning just seven of their 16 games. That is not the only unfortunate record they set last season either. It was also only the third time since 2000 that the franchise failed to reach the postseason.

In truth it was a terrible spell in autumn that cost the Patriots so dearly. After four games New England’s record stood at 2-2 courtesy of impressive victories over the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders.

What followed was a horrific three game losing streak, which included a 33-6 humiliation at the hands of San Francisco. Hopes returned briefly when the Pats won four of their next five games but once again, they then slid into a three-match losing streak which sealed their fate.

The Pats have since taken measures to try and improve their fortunes this time around. The question is, have they done enough to get some favorable odds in the NFL betting? We analyzed their moves to find out.

Long serving players depart


Following on from Brady’s departure last offseason, two more Patriots legends have left the franchise. The first is Julian Edelman, who has retired following a terrific NFL career. The Pats took him as the 232nd pick in the 2009 Draft.

Due to his low positioning not a lot was expected of the wide receiver, who transitioned into a punt returner during the latter part of his career. However, Smith defied the odds and carved out an extraordinarily productive spell in the NFL. He was particularly fond of the Playoffs, retiring as the league’s second most prolific postseason wide receiver of all time. He also won the Super Bowl three times, even scooping the MVP award in 2018 where he took 10 catches for 141 yards.

He started the 2020 season terrifically as well, before a knee injury forced him to hang up his boots at the end of the year.

As well as Edelman, the Patriots will also be without safety Patrick Chung for the first time since 2009. Over the years Chung has been a near ever-present in the Patriots starting lineup, racking up 773 tackles during his career so far.

Losing such a reliable receiver and their defensive lynchpin so soon after their franchise centrepiece, Brady, departed is not ideal. Due to this, Pats fans could be in for another challenging year in 2021.

High profile new recruits


It has not all been bad news for the Patriots this season. To counteract the departure of two fan favorites the back office have moved quickly to snap up some top talent during free agency.

Their most high profile signing is Matthew Judon. The defensive end arrives from the Baltimore Ravens with a reputation as one of the best in the NFL in his position. In each of the past two seasons Judon has been selected for the Pro Bowl. Unsurprisingly then, the Ravens were eager to keep hold of him and the fact he has opted to move to New England is a huge morale boost for Pats’ fans.

Another most exciting addition is Hunter Henry who was snapped up after his contract with the Los Angeles Chargers expired.

The talented tight end has plenty of NFL experience already and should just be entering his prime years. Last year he racked up 613 receiving yards from 60 receptions, four of which were touchdowns. He arrives at New England on a three-year $37.5m contract.

Henry is not the only exciting tight end New England fans will be treated to next season either. Junnu Smith has also been signed on a lucrative four-year deal. The 25-year-old has plenty left to give and should offer the Pats another great offensive option.

Cam Newton must step up


The form of quarterback Cam Newton will be key in determining the fate of New England’s season. Once considered one of the best QBs on the planet — he even won the league’s MVP in 2015 — he struggled for consistency last season, which was his first in a Patriots jersey.

When on form, few quarterbacks in the history of the game rush better than Newton and his passing can be mesmeric at times as well. He recently signed a one year extension with the Pats and you worry that if he does not turn on the magic this season, it could be his last under Bill Belichick.

Draft prospects


The Patriots also picked up some impressive prospects in the 2021 Draft. In a somewhat surprising move that may suggest something about the future of Newton, their first selection was quarterback Mac Jones. Jones has had a terrific college career at Alabama, scoring 41 touchdowns in his final season from just 13 games.

With numbers like this it is tempting to think that Jones might immediately be able to perform at NFL level, which is something Pats fan can get extremely excited about.

Defensive tackle Christian Barmore, a teammate of Jones’ at Alabama, could also feature during the 2021 season after impressing last year.

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