Patriots' weakest positions on offense heading into the 2024 season

The Pats should fix these positions of need before the season starts
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout
New England Patriots OTA Offseason Workout / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Most teams entering an NFL season are usually not perfect unless you have a Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Then it doesn't matter. You'll win anyway. However, not having one of these icons available, the Patriot's offense has significant deficiencies.

Fortunately, they have a defense that helps balance those flaws. If used correctly, i.e., they deploy players in their best positions, they have a chance. Yet, even if so, you still need to score more points than the opposition. The 2023 Pats' offense couldn't.

One factor on offense above all others sits in the team's favor: the presence of a potentially game and season-altering player named Drake Maye. Maye, like Tom Brady, can potentially nullify other offensive insufficiencies. Of course, He has to play to make that happen. We'll see if the team comes to its senses and establishes him as the starting quarterback.

Three offensive weaknesses threaten to derail the season before it starts. Not having depth at offensive tackle did just that in 2023. Unfortunately and surprisingly, it still could in 2024. Let's look at three major lacks and hope they'll be rectified before the first game against the Bengals on September 8.

The offensive line still has season-wrecking potential for the Patriots

The big guys up-front don't get much attention. Yet, without a solid group, you're up the creek without a proverbial paddle. The Pats' O-line stunk in 2023, and it may not be much better this season, thanks to a lack of proper attention by new personnel head Eliot Wolf.

Following in the footsteps of one of his mentors, Bill Belichick, Wolf eschewed adding an offensive left tackle or three to his team this offseason. It's a grand gaffe and has gross implications for an offense that presumably, and hopefully, will be led by a rookie, no less.

At least Belichick had the inconsistent Trent Brown on hand. Wolf provided no experienced left tackle for new Head Coach Jerod Mayo. It's a fundamental error. Absent adding one through trade (highly suggested here), it may bring the Pats' season crashing down before the leaves turn red and yellow on the Mass Pike and Route One on the way to Gillette Stadium.

Wolf at least drafted a tackle, something Belichick totally neglected last season. But relying on former right tackles, free agent veteran Chukwuma Okorafor, and draftee, Caedan Wallace is like trying to turn a VW Beetle into a Ferrari. It ain't gonna fly. That's the most head-scratching, aka bone-headed move (or non-move) by Wolf the entire offseason. If not rectified, it's likely a catastrophe.

Two other positions on the Pats offense are weak or thin

Besides left tackle, the other O-line position that could be a detriment is left guard. A former first-round pick in 2022, Cole Strange was the incumbent before being benched and then injured last season. His selection that high was a reach of all reaches. He's justified that thought. He wasn't very good when he did play and then got hurt.

Though the Pats drafted two pure guards in 2023, Sidy Sow and Atonio Mafi, Wolf thought little enough of their potential to use a higher pick on another guard this year, fourth-round pick, Layden Robinson. NFL guards are commodities. They can be found almost anywhere (e.g. Mike Onwenu, a sixth-round pick). But the Pats can't seem to get it right lately in an early round.

With Strange still on the shelf, the left guard is in flux. While it's not earth-shattering, add that to the left-tackle disaster, and you will have serious problems. Hopefully, someone who can block will emerge. If not, whoever is at QB will be running more than optimal.

The final position of weakness hasn't been spoken about much this offseason. It's running back. Fourth-year back Rhamondre Stevenson is a good one. But he's been hurt. Depth is the issue here. The team signed Antonio Gibson, a solid receiver out of the backfield with 48 catches in 2023.

However, he only gained 265 yards on the ground for the Commanders last season. That's not going to move the needle much behind Stevenson. The other candidates are former sixth-round pick Kevin Harris, who's decent, and waiver wire types. If Stevenson gets injured, the Patriots are in a world of hurt. Adding before camp is advisable.

Those are three positions of weakness on the Pats 2024 offense. Others are not that inspiring, either. Whatever. It is what it is unless and until the team moves to bolster these positions by trade. Otherwise, hope for the best, but expect, well, you know, a last-place team. Absent some additions or giving Drake Maye the keys from the get-go, that's exactly where they'll finish.

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