4. Offensive tackle
Now that the Patriots have parted ways with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, 2016 will mark a new era in the trenches.
The return of Nate Solder to the lineup will certainly provide a boost at left tackle, but Sebastian Vollmer is nearing the end of his career at right tackle. Marcus Cannon and Cameron Fleming are serviceable bench players, but they are much better in depth roles. The Patriots either need to invest in a tackle prospect in the draft, sign a free agent tackle, or both. Probably, both.
Kelvin Beachum, Cordy Glenn and Bobby Massie come to mind as options in the free agent market. All three of those guys are just 26 years old and have plenty left in the tank.
Look, Tom Brady is trying to play into his mid-40s, but that’s not going to happen if the Patriots can’t protect him. It’s paramount that the Patriots fortify their offensive line with several starter-quality backups, which may involving cutting ties with Cannon or Fleming.
Admittedly, those three tackles may be a bit high on the wish list, but you get the idea. The Patriots need to be active in the tackle market when free agency hits.
Next: 3. Inside linebacker