2. Defensive End
The Patriots overhauled their defensive line this offseason after it ranked as one of the worst groups in the league last year in terms of registering sacks (just 1.5 per game) and was absolutely bullied at the point of attack against the run.
While New England figures to improve in the latter category, questions remain about rushing opposing quarterbacks, and understandably so. After all, their current options at defensive end, Henry Anderson, Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise and Bill Murray simply aren’t proven commodities.
And don’t mistake blockbuster free agent signing Matt Judon as a defensive end. He’s an outside linebacker by trade, and the two positions require entirely different responsibilities. Why do you think we’re so bullish on the LB position after what it looked like last season?
The DE position could be a weakness for the Patriots in 2021.
In any event, while Guy and Wise have been staples of the Patriots’ defensive line for the last couple seasons and earned contract extensions this offseason, they simply aren’t world-beaters at the position. For context, neither player has tallied more than five sacks in a single season.
As for Anderson, aside from a breakout year with the Jets in 2017 — when he registered seven sacks and 16 QB hits — he’s compiled a combined 4.5 sacks in five seasons.
Perhaps the Patriots think they have strength in numbers, and that the attention their interior behemoths and OLB standouts will command from opponents will be enough to help their defensive ends wreak havoc in backfields, but that’s not enough to quell our concerns.