2. Chase Winovich
We feared that Chase Winovich would struggle for playing time in 2021 after the Patriots overhauled their defensive front in the draft and free agency, and so far, those concerns are holding true.
Winovich missed most of training camp and the preseason with an undisclosed injury, and he’s been buried on the depth chart as a result. He was available at the start of the season, but played just 19.3% of the defensive snaps from Weeks 1 through 6. That included a zero-snap showing against Dallas in Week 6.
That was Winovich’s chance to make his mark on New England’s defense, and he failed to do so, as he managed just seven tackles and one QB hit before landing on injured reserve with a hamstring issue a few weeks ago.
That’s all Winovich has contributed this season. At this point, it’s tough to envision him having any kind of future in Foxborough. His struggles against the run have rendered him a pass-rushing specialist and nothing more.
In 2019 and 2020, that was enough for Winovich to make an impact. With guys like Matt Judon, Josh Uche, Christian Barmore, Deatrich Wise and Lawrence Guy holding down the fort in that regard, though, Winovich has become an afterthought.