New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, finally spoke about what he envisions for his football team in 2021 and beyond.
The New England Patriots have been the most active team in the NFL during free agency this offseason. The Patriots have spent an NFL-record $165 million in guaranteed money to incoming free agents.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft said that the abundance of offseason acquisitions are a result of his team not having the best success in recent drafts. However, Kraft also said that he expects a different approach in regards to drafting players this year.
“In the end, if you want to have a good, consistent, winning football team, you can’t do it in free agency. You have to do it through the draft. I don’t feel we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope, and I believe, I’ve seen a different approach this year.” – Robert Kraft, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston
In order for a team to sustain success, they need to build for the future through the draft. Some of the most successful teams in the NFL are the teams who land on their draft picks. To which Kraft understands and has already done with his team in the past. The most recent example of a team doing this is the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patriots Recent Drafts
So in regards to Kraft’s statement. It seems as if he’s referring to the offense. Over the last three years, the Patriots have drafted a running back and a wide receiver in the first round. As well as a pair of tight ends in the third round of last year’s draft. Unfortunately, there are reasons to believe that these players could all be draft-busts for the Patriots.
Sony Michel had a great playoff run as a rookie in 2018 and contributed to the Pats winning the Super Bowl that year. But he hasn’t shown up to the party since. And speaking of showing up. N’Keal Harry hasn’t done much of anything since he was drafted by the Patriots in 2019.
Kraft is frustrated with the lack of talented skill position players on his team. Even more so after spending high-end draft picks to address those positions over the last few years. Which led to the aggressive approach in free agency this offseason. But, at the same time, the Patriots have failed to address the most important position on offense. The quarterback.
The Quarterback Position
Although the New England Patriots re-signed Cam Newton, he is not the answer for New England’s quarterback position. In my own humble opinion, however. Kraft may see things differently than I do about the position.
“In fairness to Cam, I’m not sure he had the proper weapons around him last year. I really do believe Cam getting COVID, and what it did to the team, it changed a lot. Now we’ll get a chance to see.” – Robert Kraft, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston
Perhaps Kraft is right with his take on Newton. But not from what I saw last season. It doesn’t seem like Newton would’ve performed any better had he been in the playbook for a full offseason. And it’s not that Newton isn’t capable. It just seems like his heyday on the football field is far behind him. Newton’s mechanics and pre-snap reads aren’t as sharp as they once were. He also doesn’t follow through in his throws, which is an indicator of a shoulder issue.
Kraft also made some comments about Jarrett Stidham, while talking about the quarterback position. The Patriots drafted Stidham in the fourth-round in 2019, where he was the backup option to the great Tom Brady.
“I don’t know that Jarrett has ever really gotten a fair shot so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I think he’s a great young man and I know that he’s eager to compete and look for an opportunity to play . . . I’m not sure he’s been tested.” – Robert Kraft, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston
Kraft makes a fair point about Stidham not really having a fair shot to be the quarterback. He spent a year behind Brady before preparing to be his successor in 2020 after Brady’s departure to Tampa. And then at the last minute, the Pats sign Newton, who is a better athlete than Stidham. But perhaps not the better quarterback, however. Newton obviously was the starter.
All in all, Kraft and I do share one opinion on the future of the quarterback position. He too believes that the position needs to be re-established and sooner rather than later.
“One way or another, we have to get that position solidified.” – Robert Kraft, via Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston
If possible, we could see the New England Patriots move up in the draft to grab one of the top quarterbacks. But, if the opportunity doesn’t present itself that way, the Patriots seem to be content with Newton and Stidham.
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