Patriots’ strongest positions heading into the 2024 season 

New England Patriots v New York Giants
New England Patriots v New York Giants / Al Bello/GettyImages

The Patriots’ 2024 roster has a “stars and scrubs” vibe. They have some very talented players, but all the most gifted players can be found in three positional groups. That makes the areas of weakness even more concerning. But it means there could be some exciting plays if they can get the ball to their stars. 

Roster construction is more of an art form than a science and the Patriots roster looks like it was constructed by Picasso. Which positional groups have more stars than scrubs?

Patriots’ strongest positions heading into the 2024 season 

Running backs 

They have six on the roster at the moment, and they’re all good or very good. They will have to cut at least two of them before the season begins, but that will be tough. 

It’s safe to say Alex Van Pelt has a type when it comes to choosing running backs. Five of the six are between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet-2 and weigh around 220 pounds. JaMycal Hasty is the exception; he is only 5-feet-8 and 205 pounds. 

Rhamondre Stevenson and Antonio Gibson figure to be the guys who get the most carries. Even though Stevenson is about to sign a new contract it’s difficult to know who will start the season at the top of the depth chart since both are so similar, but they should both feature prominently. 

In the past, JaMycal Hasty has been an elite third-down back. He’s had stints in San Francisco and Jacksonville, where he caught 77% of his targets at an average of 6.3 yards per reception. 

23-year-old Kevin Harris is one of those guys who seems to have been around for a while, but he was only drafted in 2022. He’s been bounced between the practice squad and the active roster four times since August 2022. 

Harris hasn’t put up stellar numbers when he’s played, but he has scored two touchdowns. The former Gamecock has only played 91 total snaps in two seasons, though, so he could be due for another stint on the practice squad. 

Deshaun Fenwick is another former Gamecock who transferred to Oregon State for the final years of his college career. During his six years in college, Fenwick scored 20 touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. 

The 24-year-old would be a useful depth piece for the Patriots’ roster, but he faces competition from another undrafted rookie. 

Former Florida A&M rattler Terrell Jennings might be a bit of a longshot for a roster spot, having spent four years playing FCS football. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored 25 touchdowns in those four years, though.  

Jaheim Bell also has some experience at running back, and some reporters have suggested he could see some snaps there. 

Defensive backs 

You could make a strong argument for Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers being the best safety pairing in the league. The Patriots have added two exciting rookie safeties, Dell Pettus and John Pupel, to the mix. They will compete with Jaylinn Hawkins and Joshua Bledsoe for a roster spot. 

Marte Mapu could even line up at safety in a pinch or as a dime back. The former Big Sky defensive player of the year said he was suffering an injury at the beginning of his rookie season, so how the Patriots use him now that he's healthy promises to be intriguing. 

Christian Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones are among the NFL's best cornerback pairings, too. The Patriots currently have 11 other cornerbacks competing for four roster spots

Alex Austin, who arrived in early November and played only five games for New England in 2023, is set to be a star in 2024. On the subject of under-the-radar defenders who will shock a few onlookers, Isaiah Bolden is due to return from his head injury. 

Bolden was the only HBCU drafted in 2023, Mikey Victor is a fellow HBCU product who the Patriots signed as an undrafted free agent this year. In all, the Patriots have four rookie cornerbacks battling to make the roster. 

Alabama State product Victor is the biggest DB on the roster, standing 6-foot-3 tall and weighing 209 pounds. Victor, the brother of a former Oakland Raider draft pick, isn’t as fast as Bolden; he reportedly clocked a 4.47 40-yard dash (0.12 slower than Bolden's time). 

Three other inexperienced guys are looking to impress, including William Hooper, who was initially signed by the Packers in 2023 but spent time on both the Patriots’ and Cardinals’ practice squads. 

Azizi Hearn trod a similar path to Hooper. He was originally signed by the Raiders as an undrafted free agent but found his way to the Patriots practice squad. Kaleb Ford-Dement, Trajan Ford, and Marcellas Dial are also rookies, but they all face an uphill struggle to make the final roster. 

With so many options and four potential Pro-Bowlers in the backfield, the Patriots defense will be exciting to watch in 2024. 

Tight ends 

Two new tight ends arrived during free agency. Hunter Henry also re-signed until 2026. Then, the team signed Jacob Warren as an undrafted free agent after drafting Jaheim Bell in the seventh round. 

La’Michael Pettway is also still on the roster, but there is no dead cap hit if they cut him in 2024. So, the Patriots effectively have five tight ends. 

Austin Hooper and Mitchell Wilcox are the newbies recruited in free agency (but it will only cost $20,000 if they cut Wilcox this year). The pair only caught 34 passes in 2023, though, and Hooper accounted for 25 of those. 

The interesting part of the Patriots’ depth chart involves Jaheim Bell and Jacob Warren. Bell is better suited to lining up as a h-back or even as a receiver, and Warren caught 53 passes in Tennessee, where he was Joe Milton III’s teammate. 

Milton III isn’t guaranteed to make the 53-man roster though and that could impact Warren’s future. 

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