3 dream scenarios for the Patriots in 2024

Sometimes, as in 2001, things work out great
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Patriots' second dream is that their excellent defense gets even better

The second dream scenario is not as wistful as the first. It entails the defense doing what it does, being superb. You need top players on any unit to be great. The Patriots have three and maybe at least one more. First, they have Matt Judon, who, if healthy, is one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. That's one.

Next is the emergent, recently re-signed to a mammoth contract, defensive tackle Christian Barmore. He was the 2023 Patriots breakout player of the season and its best player. He exhibits Reggie White-like qualities, a compliment of the highest magnitude. If he continues his upward trajectory, he'll be a Pro-Bowler or more in 2024.

Then you have Christian Gonzalez. He was on his way to a super season when an injury cut short his rookie year. Expect the young phenom to be a Pro Bowl contender in 2024. Gonzalez has all the attributes of a prototypical top cornerback. If he can stay healthy, the Patriots will have a lockdown cornerback for years.

Lastly, on defense, you have second-year defensive lineman Keion White. He's projected here as the 2024 Patriots' Breakout Player of the Year if he plays inside at defensive tackle. White is a ferocious pocket-collapsing interior defensive lineman who, if deployed alongside Barmore, will create a two-man wrecking crew.

New Head Coach Jerod Mayo merely has to deploy White inside in a gap on the defensive line. This will create peril for any offensive line and give opposing quarterbacks fits. Mayo needs to resist the temptation to use White outside, where he can also play well. Yet, his best position, where he is a massive difference-maker, is slotted inside next to Barmore. Hopefully, Mayo will realize this.