So the Pats may have let some important players walk so far this offseason, but they have added some replacements already. Not only that, but they have also brought back some key players from last season as well. Overall, they always find a way of making something work, even when important pieces leave the team. Here’s a look into what role these players might fit into for the upcoming season.
Rex Burkhead – RB – Burkhead was at times the most electric back the Patriots had last season. Being effective in the short yardage game as well as the passing game, he might be the perfect guy to take Dion Lewis’ workload. The only question with him is his ability to stay healthy. Personally, I think he should have got the ball more in the Super Bowl with the way that he played, but what do I know.
Matthew Slater – “WR” – Slater gave us a bit of a scare when he met with the Steelers, but thankfully Bill didn’t let his pro bowl “wide receiver” walk. I say that in quotes because he’s really just the best special teamer ever, and Bill might value that more than a franchise QB. He’ll be back to assume his gunner role as well as an important leader in the locker room.
LaAdrian Waddle – OT – Well they had to bring back at least one tackle that knows the offense right? After letting Solder and Fleming walk, at least they kept someone. He played pretty well in relief of Marcus Cannon. Not to mention Dante Scarnecchia is still there, and could mold him into exactly what he wants.
Adrian Clayborn – DE – The position the Pats might need the most help at, Clayborn will add some veteran saavy to a young position. Hopefully they use him like they should, and pass rush aggressively enough for him to be effective. Oh and he also kind of had 6 sacks in one game last year with Atlanta.
Jeremy Hill – RB – Hill will be just another piece in this very versatile running game. He may assume the role that Dion Lewis played last season, although he is not as effective when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield. He might be in a battle with a guy like Mike Gillislee for a roster spot. They are very similar backs, and have both had issues staying healthy. Whichever one can impress in the preseason most likely has a better chance of getting a spot.
Jordan Matthews – WR – An odd scenario last season when Matthews did almost nothing in Buffalo all season. He was very good in Philadelphia and was even their number one receiver. He could bring his career back to life with Tom Brady. He has a knack to turn bad Bills players into superstars, so he could be a great asset to this offense. Especially with the loss of Amendola and Cooks, he could be a key weapon for Brady.
Jason McCourty – CB – FINALLY. After years of speculation the McCourty twins are playing together in New England. I’m not really sure why they didn’t just snag him when he was a free agent last offseason, but they do weird things. He had a pretty good season last year in Cleveland, and could be a good number two to Gilmore. He does not seem like a good fit to cover slot receivers anymore, and the Pats already have too many safeties. So playing opposite Gilly is a great fit.
Matt Tobin – OT – Tobin has never really been a full time starter at the tackle position, but he played a good amount of games for the Eagles in 2015, he played as a reserve at the position for Seattle last season, and adds some veteran depth to a position the Pats lack that. Hopefully he can help out, and maybe surprise some people and become a starter this coming season.
– Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)