5 players New England Patriots can't afford to lose to injury in 2024

New England simply cannot afford for these players to get hurt.
Jabrill Peppers of the New England Patriots
Jabrill Peppers of the New England Patriots / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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The New England Patriots decided they needed a new look this offseason. Sort of. They let Bill Belichick go and made Jerod Mayo head coach. They had no real choice; Mayo had that as part of his contract.

Still, having the proverbial fresh set of eyes could greatly help. Bringing in a new offensive coordinator is going to help as well. Plus, New England took its quarterback of the future (we hope!) in the 2024 NFL draft so the Patriots could be back to being dangerous again in a couple of seasons.

They could also exceed expectations this year and contend for a playoff spot. The list that follows is not a "best-of" look at the 2024 New England football team - if that were true, our smart pal Thomas "Murph" Murphy from Locked On Patriots has some different ideas about who would be on this list, and he would be right. Instead, these are the players New England simply cannot afford to get injured.

Christian Barmore - New England Patriots defensive tackle

Besides whoever is playing quarterback, Barmore might be the most important player on the Patriots team. He is also arguably the most talented player on the roster. He will be only 25 years old when the 2024 season begins, and he plays a position where he could have a high impact for the next five or six seasons. Plus, Pats fans have probably not seen the best of Barmore either.

In each of his three seasons in the league, Barmore's numbers have improved. He only started six games last season, but he appeared in all 17, and he had 8.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Those statistics could grow to 10 and 20, respectively. The reason for expected improvement is that as a rookie in 2021, Barmore wasn't getting home on quarterbacks as often, but he still had 51 total pressures.

Raw talent aside, Barmore is a smart player who has learned to adjust in the NFL. Prior to 2023, he was suspect against the run, but as last year grew old, his run defense not only became workable, but quite good. He finished with 40 runs stuffs in 2023, and 18 of those came in the last four games. In 2024, he should be a well-rounded defensive tackle who should be playing at an All-Pro level.

Barmore is also going to draw attention away from Matthew Judon, who is returning from injury. The defensive tackle's presence makes everyone around him better. Should Barmore get hurt, the entire defense will suffer.