Football Outsiders Pinpoints Patriots’ ‘Biggest Roster Hole’ After NFL Draft

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May 6, 2019

The New England Patriots are coming off another Super Bowl win and just added some intriguing players in the 2019 NFL Draft. But their roster isn’t perfect.

The Patriots, like most teams across the league, appear to have weaknesses, which Football Outsiders considered for a piece published Monday on ESPN.com.

Football Outsiders, a website devoted to advanced statistical analysis, identified the biggest hole on each roster following the draft. Its pick for New England’s most glaring flaw isn’t too surprising: Tight end.

Here’s the reasoning:

Patriots fans have got to be hoping that Rob Gronkowski will do an about-face on his retirement as we get closer to the season, because this current group is lacking. Nominally led by expert-at-losing-touchdowns-to-instant-replay Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Patriots also have Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo. It’s a group that is not likely to make life at the goal line any easier for the Pats. Seferian-Jenkins had a minus-25.9% DVOA last year en route to losing playing time to James O’Shaughnessy. Come back, Gronk!

The Patriots entered the NFL draft with 12 picks, including six in the first three rounds, so it seemed likely they’d choose a tight end at some point — perhaps even with their first pick at No. 32 overall — in an attempt to offset Gronkowski’s retirement. Yet Bill Belichick decided to address other areas, leading to high praise for his selections but also some skepticism as to what New England’s offense will look like without Gronk, especially with quarterback Tom Brady entering his age-42 season.

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