The New England Patriots started the preseason off in excellent fashion, taking down Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team in a 22-13 win highlighted by the debut of Mac Jones and a 91-yard touchdown run by rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
Even though Bill Belichick should feel extremely comfortable with what he saw on both sides of the ball from a general point of view, there are some big holes on this team that remain unfilled, and some players have done poor jobs of trying to fill them over the last few weeks of practice.
Players like Stevenson and Joejuan Williams should be heralded for their performances over the last few weeks, but there were plenty of players on this team that didn’t exactly blow the doors off of the competition in their first showing.
These 4 players might’ve lost some ground in their quest to climb up the depth chart this season. Hopefully, they can turn things around before they have to face off against an Eagles team that likely won’t be competing for a postseason spot this year.
These 4 struggling Patriots are sliding down the depth chart
4. OT Yodny Cajuste
Cajuste was picked in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of West Virginia, and he has given the Patriots zero production in his first two seasons due to injury. Cajuste got back on the field against Washington, and he still looks like a bit of a work in progress based on how he performed.
Cajuste gave up a pressure and a quarterback hit, looking like he was struggling with the speed at which the NFL game operates at times. While he is not going to start due to the presence of Isaiah Wynn at left tackle and Trent Brown at right tackle, this wasn’t the cleanest game from the former Mountaineer.
Patriots OL Yodny Cajuste can’t afford too many bad games like that.
Considering the fact both Wynn and Brown have missed large chunks of time due to injuries over the last few years, making sure that the backup situation is taken care of should be of the utmost importance. Cajuste came out of college as a raw player, and the impact of a lack of snaps at the NFL level is still evident. He remains nearly as raw.
The fact that the Patriots were willing to cut ties with another failed third-round pick in Derek Rivers so quickly shows that Belichick has no problem admitting that certain draft picks are sunk costs. Cajuste needs a strong preseason to rehabilitate his value and get back in Belichick’s good graces.