The New England Patriots are officially kicking off their quest to return to the postseason this week, as Bill Belichick and Cam Newton are leading the squad through OTAs while the new-look roster looks to gel with one another.
The Patriots built a dynasty on the back of a roster that had depth at multiple positions, and OTAs could be the perfect time for players to reveal themselves as high-quality starters or sub-package players who could help in a rotational role.
Patriots OTAs are notoriously tough, as winning the favor of a grizzled coach like Belichick is by no means an easy task.
He will be watching certain positions, including the defensive line and running back rotation, with a great degree of interest.
While a good chunk of the starting roster is already set in stone, these 3 battles could help decide how high New England’s ceiling for next year really is.
Belichick might even shift the depth chart around depending on how things go.
3 must-watch competitions at Patriots OTAs.
3. DT: Christian Barmore vs. Davon Godchaux
Barmore was picked in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but the general consensus was that New England got a steal here. Barmore was widely regarded as the top defensive tackle in this class, and his slide out of the first round could’ve given the Patriots a Day 1 starter on the second day of the draft.
Godchaux was one of the first signings that the Patriots brought in during their free agency spending spree, but he might be a bit overrated, as he was one of the worst run-stuffers on a bad Dolphins defense over the last few years, 2020 notwithstanding.
Will Christian Barmore beat out Davon Godchaux with the Patriots?
New England played with just two defensive linemen on a majority of their snaps, so Barmore will compete with Godchaux, Byron Cowart, and Henry Anderson for the starting spot opposite Lawrence Guy. Barmore has the highest ceiling of the group, which could help sway Belichick’s thinking.
The Patriots were lucky to even have the chance to draft Barmore, so the fact that they could potentially stash him away at the bottom of their depth chart would be extremely counterintuitive. Let Barmore use his explosion and run-stuffing to give that defensive line the juice it needs.