After a great offseason including many free agency signings and a well rounded draft, the Patriots are set up for success.
In free agency the Patriots bolstered the offensive weapons for either rookie quarterback Mac Jones or Cam Newton. They also made some key defensive acquisitions that will elevate the defense to another level. Year two without Brady is set up for success.
Patriots breakout candidates:
3. Tight end Devin Asiasi
Although he didn’t have a great rookie season Devin Asiasi has a great shot at breaking out. Even though the Patriots brought in tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry in free agency, Asiasi could still make a big impact. Even if he is the third tight end he would still get snaps in three tight end sets and has all the tools to be productive. In his limited play in 2020, Asiasi showed flashes of being a great blocker and his atheticism allows him to be a redzone target. Asiasi could breakout and become a weapon in the Patriots offense.
2. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry
N’Keal Harry is entering the third year of his career and this could be the year he breaks out. He has had a lot of pressure on him early to succeed due to the limited weapons in the offense. This year is Harry’s chance to become a solidified receiver as he will be receiving less attention. It’s no secret that the more weapons you have the better as it helps the quarterback and also helps other receivers. An example of this is the Kansas City Chiefs offense as they have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. You can’t double team both of them and if you do it makes it easy to find other weapons like Mecole Hardman. With the signing the Patriots made, they have set up Harry for success.
1. Linebacker Josh Uche
As a rookie last year the injuries really told the story for Josh Uche. He only played in nine games finishing with 9 tackles and 1 sack. Uche’s potential was shown throughout his limited time on the field with his great athleticism. Despite missing a little less then half of the season Uche finished tied for 5th in quarterback pressures on the team. That is a very impressive feat especially since he missed so many games. His explosiveness to tackle players is an underrated part of his game and will help him develop easily next season. Uche also entered the NFL with a pro level talent at redirecting tight ends at the line. That is usually a weakness for incoming players but Uche already possessed it. Look for Uche to be towards the top of the Patriots pass rushers this season.
All three of these players have a great chance to break out. They are all supremely talented and in a position that is set up for success. The Patriots have a bright future ahead and these players will help them on that journey.