No. 3: Defensive Front Seven
It might seem counterproductive to think the Patriots still need work at linebacker and along their defensive line after using three picks to address the front seven: Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Cassh Muluia.
But that’s just how serious some of New England’s losses were within that part of the defense during the offseason. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton is gone. So are linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy.
Defensive tackle Adam Butler is going to assume a bigger role this season, of course, but one might have liked to see some additional depth brought aboard to reinforce the defensive line.
After all, a pass-rusher’s best dream is to have an elite D-line eating up blocks to make life much easier in one-on-one situations. While adding Uche and, to a lesser extent, Jennings helps New England rely less on blitz packages, it’s important to remember those two were added from a relatively weak edge-rushing class.
Those two rookies’ first-year campaigns won’t be so easy without some prolific efforts up front.
Again, it’s not a massive need for New England. But one might see a handful of transactions to reinforce the depth and create some likable rotations this season.