Are the Patriots’ skill position players better this year than last?
By Hal Bent
The prospect of more running back production in the passing game, combined with a younger and more athletic receiving group, helps offset the loss of Rob Gronkowski on this year’s Patriots team. While no tight end on the roster will likely come close to replicating Gronkowski’s production and overall effect on the offense (and the opposing team’s defense), New England still has a decent group of options at that position as well to evaluate this preseason.
Overall, that one major loss from the 2018 skill position group is overshadowed by the immense depth and talent at the wide receiver and running back positions. If the players listed earlier can live up to their potential – even if only some of them do – it will still represent a more potent and powerful skill position group in 2019 as compared to last season.
After the first few weeks of training camp, there is without a doubt more youth, athleticism, and sheer size in the pass catching group. Add in a trio of big, veteran wide receivers who may contribute later in the season and into the playoffs (Gordon, Thomas, and Meredith), and the Patriots have a truly intriguing group of offensive skill position players this season.
-Hal Bent has been a contributor to MusketFire.com since 2012. He covers the New England Patriots and the AFC East. Follow him on Twitter @halbent01.