The New England Patriots are not as much of a lock to make it to the postseason as they have been in prior seasons thanks to the depth in the AFC. This means that Bill Belichick and the front office will need to be even more savvy than usual in the 2022 NFL Draft.
In addition to the fact that the number of Wild Card contenders has increased substantially, the AFC East is a much tougher division this year. The Bills are still Super Bowl contenders, the Dolphins shocked the world by getting Tyreek Hill, and the Jets are building something potentially dangerous.
Securing their own top young prospect should be priority No. 1 for New England, but they also need to hope that their rivals don’t hit it out of the park on draft day. One or two really sensational draft picks could turn the tide of the entire postseason race against New England.
These three player-team combinations becoming realities would be an absolute nightmare for the Patriots. The Pats might kiss their chances of a playoff appearance goodbye while watching their long-term plan for success get even murkier with each passing season.
3 rival selections in the 2022 NFL Draft that would hurt the Patriots.
3. Bills draft a running back
While Devin Singletary is a solid NFL running back, he is hardly the foundation of a Super Bowl-caliber running game. Having Josh Allen lead the team in rushing multiple times is not a sustainable way for Buffalo to win games in an AFC that is deeper than it has ever been before.
While there is no consensus top running back in this draft, it looks like one of either Iowa State’s Breece Hall, Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III, or Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller will be the first back off the board. The first two, in particular, could start right away on a Bills team that needs more talent.
The Patriots could struggle if the Bills get a running game.
Josh Allen proved that he is more than capable of not only beating the Patriots in the postseason, but embarrassing them to the point where the game is over by halftime. If they can plow ahead with a robust running game, this offense will go from great to top of the league.
While Buffalo is expected by many to add a cornerback with this top pick, breaking with that expectation and adding a running back would make them a firm contender for the Super Bowl. Picking after New England at No. 25, all the Patriots can do is cross their fingers.