The winds of change swept through Foxborough this offseason, as the New England Patriots decided to attack their 7-9 season by signing new replacements at several key positions, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Naturally, bringing in players like Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Nelson Agholor will push some players further down on the depth chart.
Considering how lackluster the offense was at times in their first season without Tom Brady, none of the starters from last year should feel secure in their spots atop the depth chart.
New England’s roster is littered with players that are underperforming, most of whom came to the region as highly-regarded draft prospects that have not been able to justify the premium draft capital used on them.
These 3 players need to have their best seasons as Patriots in 2021, as failing to do so could buy them a one-way ticket out of town. Bill Belichick and the rest of the organization have given them enough chances to make themselves members of the long-term plan, and 2021 will be their final shot at sticking.
3 Patriots who only have one more shot in New England.
3. CB/S Joejuan Williams
When you use a second-round pick on a cornerback, you expect him to tally more than 23 tackles, three pass deflections, and a whopping zero interceptions in his first two seasons. Williams had as many forced turnovers in his first two seasons as you, me, and the guy selling hot dogs at Gillette Stadium.
Williams had plenty of promise out of Vanderbilt given his 6-3 frame and production in college, but concerns about his speed and fit in New England’s man coverage defense have been manifested on the field. The Patriots have even resorted to moving him over to safety in order to get him some extra snaps.
Joejuan Williams hasn’t performed with the Patriots.
Stephon Gilmore could be on his way out, but the Patriots still have plenty of depth at cornerback that they can lean on in order to shoulder losing Williams. Joejuan shouldn’t think that losing Gilmore instantly guarantees him a spot on the roster.
Williams was going to be a bit of a project coming out of college, but there has to be a point in which the Patriots eventually say that he is not going to evolve into what they thought he could be. A strong 2021 will buy him some time, but Williams needs to get his act together.