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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Jabrill Peppers - Patriots safety

Peppers turned himself into a very good safety in the NFL after he came to the Patriots in 2022. Before that, he was inconsistent in nearly every phase of the game for the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. With New England, however, he has become an irreplaceable player. In the New England safety group, there is Peppers and then a precipitous fall to the next-best player.

Last season, Peppers showed remarkable position flexibility going from free safety to strong safety almost every other game without any decrease in quality. He allowed only 58.8 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed and then for only 132 yards. That last number is ridiculously low. In two seasons in New England, Peppers has allowed only one touchdown pass.

New England is a changing team, of course, and needs the veteran leadership Peppers brings on the back end of the defense. This makes everyone in front of him have an easier job. For young players, reacting instead of thinking about how to react makes them better. Peppers helps with that.

Matthew Judon - Patriots edge rusher

Judon missed 13 games in 2023. The defense managed to hold up decently well, but the lack of pass rush meant the unit could not chase teams off the field more easily. This gave the offense even less time to try to do anything. Sure, the offense probably was not going to accomplish much, but the Patriots were 31st in time of possession for a couple of reasons. The offense could not move the ball well and New England sacked teams 5.89 percent of the time they dropped back.

Judon will single-handedly change how much press New England gets on opposing quarterbacks. In the two seasons he played for New England prior to 2023, Judon had 28 combined sacks and at least 63 total pressures each season. The Pats leading edge rusher last year, Joshua Uche, had a total of 37 pressures.

New England should have a good defense. Having a healthy Judon in 2024 makes the defense much more dangerous.