Here are Patriots players poised to make massive leaps and have breakout performances in 2020.
Among the many different situations that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the sports world, no other team in the NFL has had as many players elect to opt out of the 2020 season than the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are preparing to play the upcoming campaign without the following eight players: linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, running back Brandon Bolden, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Marqise Lee, offensive guard Najee Toran, fullback Danny Vitale, and tight end Matt LaCosse.
The most significant loss to the Pats is Hightower, the three-time Super Bowl champion. He’s not only the leader and commander of the defensive unit, but he is also who the defense has been designed and built around for the better part of the past five seasons.
Things are tough on the offensive side of the ball, too. Not having the services of your starting right tackle is certainly no walk in the park. Cannon, who has started every game that he has been available since the 2016 season, also leaves a huge hole along the offensive line.
It’s also worth mentioning that Dustin Woodard, the Patriots’ seventh-round draft pick from this year, has decided to retire before even taking a real snap in the NFL. Woodard was a versatile and interchangeable offensive lineman who had experience playing center and both guard positions during his time with the Memphis Tigers.
With all that, it’s even more imperative a number of players set to take the field in 2020 are ready to take leaps, have breakout seasons, or contribute more than they’ve been accustomed to. If these three Patriots manage to break out and have big years, fans will be thrilled and the playoffs will be even more of a reality.