The New England Patriots’ roster looks a lot different than it did in past seasons, as they’ve parted ways with some of their legends of yesteryear in order to try and quickly reboot this team and get back into the playoff picture.
New England has some familiar faces returning, including Cam Newton at quarterback, as well as some new additions like Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and Nelson Agholor in order to beef up their depleted skill position depth chart.
Even with some memorable names at the very top of the depth chart, Bill Belichick has been a master of making under-the-radar acquisitions, either through the draft or free agency, that could end up taking this team to the next level. But due to some quality maneuvering of the FA market, Belichick has some secret weapons ready to be deployed.
These three players could break out and have career years with New England given their skill set and/or fits in the team’s system.
Here are the three best-kept secrets on the New England Patriots roster.
3. RB JJ Taylor
There’s a reason that most running backs in the NFL aren’t 5-6 or 185 pounds. However, Taylor broke that mold after a fantastic career at Arizona helped land him a UDFA deal in New England. Could the Patriots have stumbled upon a potential successor to the aging James White?
Taylor recorded over 2,500 yards from scrimmage during his final two seasons in college, and he has a surprising amount of power in his lower body for his size. He’s not just a scat-back, either; his career with the Wildcats proves he can handle a few carries up the middle every game.
JJ Taylor could break out for the Patriots.
Obviously, Taylor wouldn’t make the NFL on his power potential at his size. He’s a slippery jitterbug in the open field capable of making even the surest tacklers wave at air when they try to bring him down. With solid open-field speed and vision as a ball carrier, there’s a ton to like about his game.
Damien Harris might’ve seized ownership of the RB1 role, but Sony Michel is still struggling with injuries and White might leave the door open to someone like Taylor taking some snaps away from him. If White is forced out for an extended period of time, Patriots fans shouldn’t sweat knowing Taylor, who ran for 110 yards on 23 carries last year, is here.