4 reasons to feel optimistic about the New England Patriots' upcoming season

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots
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The roster has gotten younger and faster

An emphasis over the last few years, as said by the director of player personnel Matt Groh, has been to make the Patriots a younger and faster team.

Before the team made that change in philosophy, New England had consistently been one of the oldest teams in the league and certainly not known for having the speediest of players.

But since Groh became heavily involved in the draft process in recent years, there was a noticeable effort to add tougher and faster talent to the team.

That's a primary reason Tyquan Thornton, who clocked in the fastest 40-yard-dash time of all receivers, and Pierre Strong Jr., the fastest running back of the class, were selected last year. The same can be said about players drafted this year, as well.

The conscious effort will inevitably lead to a big payoff once they take the field, especially in a division led by some of the NFL's fastest and most explosive players. And the youth movement on defense will make it much more difficult for opposing offenses, which has been a lingering issue for New England over the last few years.