3. Pass rusher
Since the Patriots lost Matt Judon for the season, they’ve had just eight sacks in six games. Twice New England had zero sacks (Las Vegas, Indianapolis). Too often passers either have all day in the pocket or can escape and extend plays.
Another way to put it: Matt Judon still leads the team in sacks, and he hasn’t played since week four.
The pass rushers on the roster have been disappointing. Deatrich Wise Jr. has just two sacks. Rookie Keion White flashes on run defense but is yet to bag a QB. Josh Uche has really underperformed after an 11.5-sack 2022. With his lack of production, the Patriots should had traded Uche, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The hope is White will be improved with a year under his belt. But the 31-year-old Judon will be a year older next year and a free agent in 2025. The Patriots need a dominant pass rusher to groom behind Judon and eventually replace him.
The conundrum for New England is pass rushers go very quickly. If they draft by need, all the top pass rushers will be gone. The Patriots further limit their options by focusing on pass rushers that can play the run and pass.
Drafting Uche in 2020 was a departure from the Patriots’ standard. Uche was a pure speed, bend the corner pass rusher with almost zero contribution as a run defender. If New England waits, they might have to settle for a one dimensional pass rusher or a less talented all-around edge defender.