Projecting the Patriots best starting defense for 2024

Going with the defense that provides the best chance to win
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The Patriots starting edge players and linebackers

The aforementioned Wise and White, if he's played outside, can both be considered "edge" players. But for the purpose of simplicity, we'll consider the starting edge players to be the outside linebackers. One player stands out and he's among the NFL's very best when healthy.

That player, of course, is Matt Judon. Judon's loss in the fourth game last season along with Christian Gonzalez, kept the Pats' very good defense from being a super one. Both were sorely missed. A healthy Judon in 2024 will bring the pass rush from the left side that was missing last season.

On the right are two options, re-signed fifth-year player, Joshua Uche and Anfernee Jennings. Uche will get the nod here, though both he and Jennings' careers have been marked with inconsistency. If the 2022 Uche of his 11.5 sacks shows up, the Patriot pass-rush will be a terror. If not, most of the push will come from the tackles and Judon.

Inside, the linebackers will be easy to slot in. Underrated Ja'Whaun Bentley had another splendid year with 114 total stops and 4.5 sacks. Those are top stats for a traditional Patriots' inside linebacker. The seventh-year player should continue to get better. Expect another great season for Bentley.

Playing alongside will be the unexpectedly solid, and recently re-signed former Lions cast-off, Jahlani Tavai. He provides a superb one-two punch with Bentley, cleaning up runners who manage to breach the D-line. He also had a terrific 2023 season with 110 tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack. Largely unheralded, the Bentley/Tavai team is solid as a rock.