The New England Patriots went into the 2022 NFL draft with needs galore, among them linebacker/edge, wide receiver, cornerback, tackle, guard, and others. Though it was another poor effort overall, they at least attempted to address all of their needs in some fashion, except for one glaring one. That would be a linebacker/edge rusher.
Pundits and fans alike can disagree with whom they picked and when from now until the season starts, but not selecting any linebackers whatsoever when they were fully expected to by just about every fan and observer is worth a closer look.
So let’s review who’s who in that linebacker room. The team feels they are in good shape … but the linebacker situation has us feeling a bit uneasy.
3. Patriots linebacker room is weak and got weaker in the offseason
To say the Patriots’ 2022 showing in free agency was lackluster is a gross understatement. It was virtually non-existent. Not much there to crow about at all there, though the signing of Jabrill Peppers, if he can stay healthy (remember that theme, it will be recurring), might be significant.
Instead of rectifying obvious weaknesses at the position, the Patriots severed ties with two starting linebackers. Gone are starters Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins also wasn’t re-signed. They didn’t sign a major replacement for any of them. Then, to make matters worse, they completely, and bizarrely passed on top talents in the draft to go in other directions which were a lot less needy, such as running back and quarterback.
That’s the surface-level concern, and it’s certainly valid.