The New England Patriots are not seen as a major competitor for the upcoming season, at least if Pro Football Focus’ latest power rankings are to be believed. The team, which finished the 2021 season with a 10-7 record, is ranked just 18th at the moment.
18. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots were never likely to be big free agent spenders two years in a row, and while they made some quiet additions in the veteran marketplace, their draft was curious. Cole Strange was seen as a major reach in the first round, and he replaces a proven Pro-Bowl caliber player in Shaq Mason, who was traded away for a fifth-round pick. New England’s fortunes rest on the development of the young players or last year’s additions after spending a year in the system. Can Mac Jones, in particular, take a big step forward in his sophomore season?
Subjective nature of that ranking aside, one thing can be added to this evaluation: the Patriots will use Cole Strange to replace departed left guard Ted Karras rather than right guard Shaq Mason. Mason’s former spot in the lineup will go to third-year man Michael Onwenu.