Depth Chart Fantasy Impact
The Patriots made headlines with their 2021 free agent spending spree.
This offseason, however, the front office has taken a tamer approach. It started in the WR room with a trade for former Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. The 29-year-old played only 10 games last year and has a long history of nagging injuries. But 2019-2020 showed the type of impact he can make, despite a poor QB situation. He combined for 135 catches, 1,995 yards and 13 TDs over that stretch. He’s an instant candidate to lead the Patriots in all major receiving categories, right alongside returning veterans Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers. At 6’3, 219 pounds, Parker also supplies 2nd-year QB Mac Jones with another big red-zone target.
New England added some much-needed speed to the WR corps with Baylor product Tyquan Thornton. While on the thin side at 6’2, 181 pounds, the Round 2 pick brings truly game-changing ability. Thornton ran a 4.28 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He set career highs as a senior, snagging 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 TDs.
In the backfield, Brandon Bolden left to join new HC Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas. His loss quietly takes away 41 catches from 2021. Rookies Pierre Strong (Round 4) and Kevin Harris (Round 6) join a still-loaded backfield of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Strong hit 1,000 rushing yards in 3 of his 4 seasons at South Dakota State. A proven pass catcher, he also has an opportunity to see pass-catching work, but a lot will depend on the health of James White. The veteran pass-catching back suffered a hip subluxation last September and turned 30 in February. Harris brings a lead back frame and knows how to utilize it to maximize yardage. He’s a depth piece for 2022.
Along the O-line, New England traded G Shaq Mason to the Bucs. In the draft, they added Chattanooga’s Cole Strange, a plug-and-play starter along the interior.
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