Patriots rank 27th in ESPN’s rankings of best starting lineups in the NFL – NBC Sports Boston

Patriots rank 27th in ESPN’s rankings of best starting lineups in the NFL – NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots are coming off their worst season in a long time, but there are reasons to be optimistic and expect the future to look brighter.

The Patriots fell to the bottom of the AFC standings in 2023 with a 4-13 record. It was the first time since 1992 that New England won four or fewer games in a season.

It remains to be seen how much better the Patriots will fare in the upcoming 2024 season, but the team did add some quality players to its roster during the offseason.

These additions include free agent signings such as quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back Antonio Gibson, wide receivers Jalen Reagor and KJ Osborn, and tight end Austin Hooper. The Patriots also acquired a potential franchise QB in Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. New England also retained many of its own free agents, including offensive tackle Mike Onwenu, tight end Hunter Henry, wideout Kendrick Bourne, pass rusher Josh Uche, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings, among others. Cornerback Christian Gonzalez and pass rusher Matthew Judon return after missing most of the 2023 season due to injury.

Despite these changes, the Patriots still don’t rank among the league’s top 25 players, at least not according to ESPN, which recently ranked all 32 starting lineups.

The Patriots came in at No. 27. According to ESPN, the Patriots’ biggest strength is at safety and their biggest weakness is at wide receiver.

The only teams ranked lower, from No. 28 to No. 32, are the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Washington Commanders, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

Much of the Patriots’ short- and long-term success will depend on Maye’s development. The Patriots figured Mac Jones would be their first franchise QB in the post-Tom Brady era, but the 2021 first-round pick wasn’t the answer and he was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in March.

If Maye reaches his potential, the Patriots will be an AFC contender in the near future. But the Patriots need to help him. They haven’t done enough to surround Jones with the requisite amount of top talent at the skill positions on offense. New England can’t afford to make the same mistake with Maye.

Phil Perry reacts to Mike Florio’s pre-camp power rankings in which he puts the New England Patriots in second to last place. Phil explains why he thinks the ranking is too low and how the Patriots defense will move them up the rankings.