Not many teams willingly give up a top-five player at their position for pennies, but that’s exactly what the New England Patriots did when they traded Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers for a fifth-round draft pick. They drafted Cole Strange in the second round to replace him. But even if Strange struggles, the Patriots have four outstanding offensive linemen in their starting lineup. The most significant question concerning the Patriots’ 53-man roster now, however, is at cornerback.
New England Patriots 53-man roster projection
There are many quirks associated with the Patriots that don’t exist in other organizations. Their coach is also the general manager, they have two defensive coordinators, and their offensive coordinator has only coached that side of the ball one year since 2005.
But if any organization can get away with it, it’s New England.
Starters will be annotated with an asterisk.
New England Patriots offense (23)
New England Patriots defense (26)
Deatrich Wise Jr.*
Mack Wilson Sr.
New England Patriots specialists (3)
Nick Folk (K)
Jake Bailey (P)
Joe Cardona (LS)
The Patriots let Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson walk away in free agency without spending top-end assets on replacing them. However, New England has never boasted outrageously-talented defensive personnel, yet they’ve consistently found good production from the talent they field. The question is, can they keep that up without the presence of an elite cornerback?
Losing Josh McDaniel is significant, but the Patriots have also improved their receiving corps since last season, at least in theory. They added DeVante Parker, drafted Tyquan Thornton, and they still have two solid tight ends. Despite not having the on-paper roster of a top competitor in 2021, the Patriots finished inside the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency.