New England Patriots: Projected starting offense after 2023 NFL Draft

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages

After the 2023 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots projected starting offense might not look as different as we had hoped it would. It's been about a week since the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft, so we've had time to assess the Patriots' class without emotion getting in the way.

How do we feel? Did they do enough to fix the roster? Did they add enough on offense? Did they address needs on defense? I think the true answer is a mixed bag. I think they hit on their needs on defense quite well, but their lack of high offensive draft picks is a bit concerning.

It seems like the Patriots did lay out a clear plan for going about fixing the team. Free agency was clearly about investing in the offense, as they added all of Riley Reiff, Calvin Anderson, Mike Gesicki, James Robinson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster during free agency.

They were heavy on defense in the 2023 NFL Draft, at least with their top picks, and did draft some developmental pieces on offense, including a few interior offensive linemen. Perhaps they did this to hopefully get some immediate change out of the offense while also improving the defense to a lesser degree, as it'll take time for rookies to adjust to the NFL.

Let's look at the Patriots' projected offense now that the 2023 NFL Draft is over. This projected lineup comes from

Patriots: Projected starting offense after the 2023 NFL Draft
Quarterback - Mac Jones

Mac Jones is likely going to start the season as QB1 for the Patriots unless something major happens. He should have a better situation overall in 2023 between the coaching and personnel. There weren't any major, headline creating upgrades, but there might be enough to make it work.

Running back - Rhamondre Stevenson

Rhamondre Stevenson took the RB1 duties away from Damien Harris back in 2022 and rushed for 1,040 yards on 5.0 yards per carry. Think about that for a second; he did that in a Matt Patricia-led offense. Just imagine what he's going to do in year three in a Bill O'Brien offense?

Stevenson might be the focal point of the offense heading into the 2023 season, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Tight end - Hunter Henry

Hunter Henry had a shaky second season with the Patriots after an encouraging 2021. He's a very talented tight end and both he and new TE addition Mike Gesicki are likely going to be 1a and 1b during the season.

If you want to think that Mike Gesicki will be the starter, that's fine. This position can go back and forth, but Henry probably gets the nod to start the season.

Wide receiver - JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton

Part of me thinks we'll see one of Parker or Kendrick Bourne cut before the 2023 season begins. The Patriots did draft two wide receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft; Kayshon Boutte an Demario Douglas, but I would not expect either to make a ton of noise this year.

Tyquan Thornton is someone I'm keeping an eye on. He's got all the makings of a true WR1 in New England with his rare blend of size and speed. Thornton breaking out in year two would be exceptional for the offense. Smith-Schuster is more of a low-end WR1 than anything, but I think the most ideal scenario is JuJu assuming WR2 duties because of Thornton taking a huge step in year two.

Offensive line - Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu, Riley Reiff

This is the projected starting offensive line right now. Nothing should change along the interior with Strange, who caught on towards the end of his rookie year, Andrews and Onwenu. Those three should be as locked in as possible at their respect spots.

I am interested to see what happens at tackle. Trent Brown had a rough go at in playing left tackle in 2022, and Riley Reiff has played both left and right tackle. The most ideal scenario might be to sent Brown back to RT and move Reiff to LT.

They could also see if Taylor Lewan wants to come on down and play left tackle for a year or two potentially. With Bill O'Brien running the offense, the offensive line should end up being just fine. I'd say it's an average unit at this time.

Well, there's the projected Patriots' offense. Will this be enough to win in 2023?