9. Offensive line
The offensive line takes the rear because of the pummeling Tom Brady took in the AFC Championship Game. You can blame it on Dave DeGuglielmo’s bad day, or any other number of factors. Health certainly played a role in the degradation of the offensive line, too. But considering how stacked the Patriots are across the board, we have to start somewhere, even if the Patriots’ offensive line group isn’t all that bad.
Look, this unit clearly did not have the trust of Josh McDaniels in run blocking as the season wore on, as the Patriots barely ever ran the ball consistently well over the course of their 2-4 finish to the regular season.
What the Patriots should do over the offseason: Upgrade depth at both tackle positions. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer are locked-in as the starters, but the Patriots need to bolster backup spots behind those guys. Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon just aren’t the guys you want protecting Brady in the playoffs.
North Dakota State product Joe Haeg should be on the Patriots’ radar in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Next: 8. Running back