2022-23 New England Patriots biggest offensive X-factor

New England Patriots veteran WR Kendrick Bourne will be one of the key factors in how well the Patriots’ offense performs in the 2022-23 NFL season.

Training camp is coming to a close rapidly and the New England Patriots are fully setting their sights on the upcoming 2022-23 NFL season. Naturally, the Pats will have to make cutdowns to the roster to be regular season ready. Therefore, making men fight for those spots and bring out the most competitiveness among them all. In order to build on their 10-7 record last year, the roster has to be dramatically improved.

The overload of talent in the WR room will force even veterans to step up and make plays in the passing game to separate themselves from the pack. Today, veteran WR Kendrick Bourne should prove to be the x-factor for the Patriots going forward. Teams keying in on our outside WRs DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor will free up guys in between the lines like Jacobi Meyers and Bourne.

However, we’ve seen what the other guys can do when given the opportunity. It appears the biggest question mark and change in role will be Bourne.

Kendrick Bourne’s Experience

The Eastern Washington product was extremely productive in college playing alongside All-Pro WR Cooper Kupp. Unfortunately, although he declared for the draft he was not drafted. Instead, he took the free agency route and found his way to the San Francisco 49ers for three years. In his rookie year, he caught 16 passes for 257 yards, according to ESPN. However, he manage to work his way into bigger roles as the years progressed.

He found himself becoming a reliable target in the passing game for the 49ers, however, never still being labeled the first option. While he never received his opportunity as the No.1 WR in San Fran; he did set himself up as a valuable free agent target in 2021. He then signed a three-year deal with the Pats. Last season, he had his best season statistically, catching 55 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns, per ESPN.

The New England Patriots’ Plans for Kendrick Bourne in 2022

While many would agree Bourne is an ideal fit for the Patriots, this season his role may look a lot different than it did in 2021. Many would agree that he’s not the most explosive or flashy WR, however, he has a great foundation and does the basic necessities to help achieve success within the system.

Many forget how effective in the run game Bourne has proven to be as well. For his size, he’s a fairly physical WR and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Not to mention, his versatility within the offense. He’s proven he can play the outside WR, as well as the slot. The matchup issues he can present will allow Patriots QB Mac Jones to make better decisions and more efficient throws throughout the season.

Last season, Bourne lined up 33.8% of his snaps in the slot (187) and 60.9% on the outside. Unfortunately, he may never get the recognition he deserves because he may never become a 1,000-yard WR due to the depth of talent in that WR room. However, he will see opportunities regularly and serve as one of the most valuable options in crunch time situations.