The New England Patriots have been hard at work building their roster back up this offseason. Their biggest move came in the 2024 NFL Draft when they selected Drake Maye with the third overall pick to come in and be their new quarterback of the future, and the hope is that he will eventually be able to lead the Pats back to the playoffs.

For the time being, though, New England's roster looks a bit lackluster in several areas. The front office focused heavily on extending their key players to new long-term deals, but they missed the mark when it came to adding external talent, particularly in free agency. Unless they somehow managed to nail each of their draft picks, chances are it will be a long season in Foxboro.

Still, there are some talented players on the Patriots roster who could stand to benefit from all the changes that have been made over the past few months. So with that in mind, let's take a look at two hidden gems that are currently stashed on this roster that could go on to have breakout campaigns in 2024.

Demario Douglas

New England Patriots wide receiver DeMario Douglas (3) works out at minicamp at Gillette Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been made of the Patriots' wide receiver room this offseason, and for good reason. After being woefully undermanned at the spot in 2023, the front office has decided to choose quantity over quality, as they have Kendrick Bourne, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, Ja'Lynn Polk, Javon Baker, and Kayshon Boutte headlining the depth chart currently.

There's a lot of talent there, sure, but there isn't exactly a de facto number one wide receiver there. The guy who ended up having to shoulder the brunt of the work in 2023 was the sixth-round rookie in Douglas, and despite all the problems plaguing the team's offense, he largely managed to hold his own, as he hauled in 49 passes for 561 yards.

Douglas probably should not be treated as a number one wide receiver, but he could be a heck of a secondary target, and that's a role he will get a chance to properly fill in 2024. With Bourne returning after his season was cut short due to a torn ACL, and Polk and Baker looking to make big impacts as rookies themselves, Douglas is something of a forgotten man in the wide receiver room.

That shouldn't be the case, though. The undersized wideout is incredibly shifty with the ball in his hands, and showed his route running skills each week he was on the field, as he was consistently getting open despite facing a lot of attention from opposing secondaries, because, well, they didn't really have to worry about anyone else. Having some more talent on the field around him will surely help Douglas out in his sophomore campaign.

He may have been the Patriots leading receiver last year, but Douglas has flown under the radar this offseason. He'll remind fans quickly just how good he is when he takes the field in 2024, and if he can stay healthy and develop a strong rapport with Jacoby Brissett under center, he should easily surpass the strong numbers he put up as a rookie.

Christian Gonzalez

New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (0) speaks to the media during press availability at minicamp at Gillette Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Another second-year player in New England who has kind of been forgotten about is Christian Gonzalez. After being selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Gonzalez burst onto the scene with the Pats, only to suffer a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 4 that cut his rookie campaign short.

What Gonzalez managed to do in his first three full games in the NFL was incredibly impressive, though. He started the season off by locking up A.J. Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Garrett Wilson in three consecutive weeks, and he had a strong start against CeeDee Lamb before he was forced out of that game early. Had he stayed healthy, Gonzalez likely would have been a frontrunner for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Gonzalez was already the Patriots clear-cut top cornerback, and he will return to reprise that role in 2024. It was a very small sample size, and he may have struggled a bit if he stayed healthy throughout the remainder of the year, but considering the fact he will only be turning 22 years old later this month, it looks like the Pats have a new lockdown corner in town for the foreseeable future.

Similar to Douglas, it feels like Gonzalez has been a bit of an afterthought this offseason, which makes a bit of sense considering how much time he missed last year. And yet, if he stays on the field and manages to play like he did early on last year, he could find himself in the running for a spot on an All-Pro team when all is said and done.

In a way, Gonzalez isn't really a hidden gem, but just how good he could end up being is the piece that many fans may not know about. There are still several areas lacking in talent for New England heading into their next campaign, but if Gonzalez can pick up where he left off, cornerback will be one spot they won't have to worry too much about for years to come.