The New England Patriots have a bunch of defensive needs that can be fixed in the 2020 NFL Draft with the 23rd overall pick.
The New England Patriots defense has to deal with Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts, and Shilique Calhoun (to name a few) all becoming unrestricted free agents this spring. All of those players – particularly the first two – are key contributors to this unit, and any one of them moving on would represent a significant loss for the Pats.
That said, considering just how many players are hitting free agency in April, moving forward the defense should remain pretty intact. The Patriots have a strong front unit still under contract with Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Chase Winovich, John Simon, Derek Rivers, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and of course Dont’a Hightower holding down the first seven positions in the middle of their defense.
The aging defensive backs are another point of concern. Devin McCourty is in line to become a free agent this spring, and the McCourty brothers have been rumored to potentially retire during the offseason. If the McCourtys are retiring due to age, the Pats need to have a plan for the safety positions, as Patrick Chung is the same age as the brothers, too.
Without mentioning the players listed above, the Pats will have Duron Harmon and Terrance Brooks manning the safety positions. Chung is not expected to retire just yet, but a backup plan for him is necessary.
That also leaves the Patriots with a thin cornerback squad of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, JC Jackson, and D’Angelo Ross for cornerbacks, with Duron Harmon, Brandon King, Terrance Brooks, and Malik Gant all available at safety or hybrid positions.
The Patriots can fix some of their defensive issues using their 23rd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. With a handful of draft picks and the need to upgrade many positions, New England can once again build through the draft.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential defensive draft targets coming out of the draft this year.