3) New England Patriots
It’s a new beginning for the New England Patriots. On top of losing the greatest quarterback of all time to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they lost some good impact players at the linebacker position. Kyle Van Noy is bound for South Beach to help the Miami Dolphins. Teammate Jamie Collins is heading to the Motor City to play for former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions. But if it is one thing that head coach Bill Belichick does, and does well, is get the next guy up and ready to play. He can get the best out of his players on any given Sunday.
Longtime Patriot and 2019 Pro Bowler Dont’a Hightower will be the veteran leader that the other guys on defense will be looking to. Last season was his best season since 2014 where he had 60 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 1 fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
The Patriots tried to replace some of the lost talent in free agency and through the NFL Draft. They stayed in the division and signed Brandon Copeland from the New York Jets. However, the players in the NFL Draft could make or break this position group. Day 2 draft picks Josh Usche out of Michigan and Anfernee Jennings out of Alabama are the kind of guys that can thrive under a head coach like Bill Belichick.
Because of the departures of Van Noy and Collins, they will have a very difficult time replacing their production. We have to wait and see how well the young guys can step up and play where a new era is dawning in New England.