The New England Patriots might need to start upping their drafting game.

Many (rightfully) believe the Patriots will be in trouble when Tom Brady retires, as the roster isn’t exactly loaded with rising stars. The situation, however, perhaps is more dire than many realize.

ESPN on Monday published its rankings of the 32 NFL teams based on under-25 talent, and New England didn’t fare well. In fact, the Patriots finished dead last on the list.

Here’s writer Scott Kacsmar’s logic:

“First-round rookie left tackle Isaiah Wynn will have a shot at beating Trent Brown for that job, but the line is full of players who are 25 or 26 years old. Wynn could start at left guard too. Sony Michel was New England’s second first-round pick this year, but he’ll likely just be part of New England’s committee backfield rather than a workhorse. The Patriots have some youthful depth on defense with defensive end Deatrich Wise and linebacker Elandon Roberts, but the team has to start seeing something out of cornerback Cyrus Jones (2016 second-round pick) and defensive end Derek Rivers (2017 third-round pick).

“The Patriots are dinged a great deal by right guard Shaq Mason, nose tackle Danny Shelton, and defensive end Trey Flowers all turning 25 in August, thus disqualifying them by the slimmest of margins. So it’s not like the whole roster is following Brady in age, but the secondary will start three players in their 30s, Rob Gronkowski is 29 and Julian Edelman is 32. The future stars of the Patriots are more likely to be found in various colleges, if not high schools, rather than the lowest depths of the current roster.”

As you can see, coincidence is partly to blame for the Patriots’ low ranking. If players such as Mason, Flowers and Shelton were born a few months earlier, then perhaps New England would rank higher. Furthermore, it’s not like age 25 is any sort of real, tangible cutoff mark when assessing a roster.

Still, Patriots fans have more than enough reason to be concerned about life post-Brady.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images