The offseason has been a substantial one for the New England Patriots. Through both a spending spree during the free agent frenzy or drafting QB of the future Mac Jones in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, the Patriots’ roster has had a complete remodeling and the organization has set itself up for success now and in the future.
The biggest unit that needed addressing was undeniably the offense, and that was handled in a big way with several notable weapons coming in for current quarterback Cam Newton.
The future of the QB position was also addressed, with the Alabama Crimson Tide national champion Mac Jones falling right into the Patriots’ lap.
The unit that may be even more exciting in their potential for domination next year, though, is the New England defense.
Why the Patriots defense could be the best in the NFL in 2021.
The Patriots’ defense finished ranked seventh last year, pretty impressive considering the opt-outs and games lost due to COVID-19. The young defensive players held their own, and to be honest were really the reason this team remained semi-competitive.
This season can only be better, as the combination of free agent signings, opt-outs returning and young guys continuing to develop is a recipe for success.
The prize of free agency on the defensive side of the ball, Matt Judon, is going to be a massive addition to this ball club. The outside linebacker has been one of the best in the NFL since entering the league with the Baltimore Ravens and fills a noticeable weakness at the LB position for the Patriots.
Speaking of linebackers, the most substantial return of that opt-out group is certainly that of Dont’a Hightower. The longtime New England defensive stalwart will surely help solidify the inside linebacker position and brings with him that veteran leadership and experience.
When it comes to young exciting players that could take that next step, there are plenty. Young corner J.C. Jackson has developed into one of the best shutdown CBs in the league. Nine interceptions last year isn’t too shabby. Versatile safety Kyle Dugger visibly improved during the duration of last season and should have an expanded role next year.
Young LBs Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich and Afernee Jennings will all have an opportunity to earn a sizeable roll as well.
This combination of new and developing faces, along with defensive stalwarts like Lawrence Guy, Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore make this defense an easy candidate to be one of, if not the, best in the NFL for this upcoming campaign.