2. Offensive tackle
So, Patriots, how are all those guards working out?
Over the past two drafts, New England selected guards Cole Strange (2022) in the first round, Sidy Sow and Atonio Mafi (2023) in the fourth and fifth rounds. And one tackle, Andrew Steuber (2022), in the seventh round.
Of all the baffling decisions the Patriots front office has made of late, declining to select a long-term blindside protector stands out as one of the worst. Even if the Patriots select an athletic passer, he can’t succeed if the pocket is constantly crumbling.
This season New England learned the hard way you can’t put a band aid at tackle and everything will be fine. Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson didn’t last. The Sow experiment on the edge was short lived. Connor McDermott is decent in relief, but he’s not cornerstone caliber.
It took a while, but the coaching staff finally settled on Trent Brown and Michael Onwenu as the bookends for the season, health permitting. The problem is both are free agents at the end of the year.
The Patriots haven’t spent their money to retain one of their high priced free agents recently. So there’s legitimate concern that New England will let Onwenu walk. Maybe the Patriots keep Brown, but reports of his tardiness and inability to stay on the field makes re-signing Brown a bit risky.
If New England loses both to free agency, the Patriots must draft one early, no excuse. Ideally he would be a first or second round selection to anchor one end. Selecting a pair of tackles would be recommended as well.