The 2017 New England Patriots’ season ended in disappointment, losing Super Bowl 52 to the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, led by backup quarterback Nick Foles. This was just the beginning of what a different looking offseason for the Patriots in 2018.
Only 99 days now and we will see the Patriots host the Houston Texans at Gillette on September 9 at 1 p.m. What should be an exciting rematch from last years week 3 36-33 last minute win by New England and a return from rookie sensation Deshaun Watson.
Free agency/Offseason trades
Though the Patriots didn’t make any big-named free agent splashes, the team signed Adrian Clayborn, Jordan Hill, Troy Niklas, and Jordan Matthews. New England also traded for Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty.
The Patriots lost Danny Amendola, Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, and Malcolm Butler in free agency back in March. The team looked to free agency to try and replace what they had lost. For the most part it worked, Shelton and Clayborn came into the fold to help bolster the defensive line, Jason McCourty arrived in a trade that has very little downside for New England. New England also has Derek Rivers coming back from injury as well, a rookie DE last year who ended his season before it began with an ACL injury in training camp. Like it or not the Patriots defense did get better.
2018 NFL Draft
Fast forward from March to the 2018 NFL Draft, prior to the draft the team dealt wide receiver Brandin Cooks over to the Rams in exchange for their first round pick(#23) and a sixth round pick in that draft, all New England gave up was Cooks and a fourth rounder.
The Patriots had the 23rd and 31st overall picks in the 2018 draft. When everyone was expecting a repeat of the 2012 draft, where Bill Belichick had selected defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont’a Hightower both in the first round, Belichick went in a different direction and selected offensive tackle Isiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel.
Though it wasn’t ideal for some media and fans alike, it did help clear up some holes. Michel should prove to be the Dion Lewis replacement if not a better option for the Patriots. Isiah Wynn who proved to be extremely versatile on the line during his tenure in Georgia, showing that he could play tackle and guard on both sides should prove to be one of Belichick’s better draft picks as time goes on.
New England added more bodies to the roster which should help improve the team overall, drafting cornerback Duke Dawson 56th overall, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley 143rd, linebacker Christian Sam 178th, and slot wide receiver Braxton Berrios 210th.
A very underrated draft class joining the Patriots in 2018 which may not be the most popular among fans in New England should prove to be helpful in reaching the teams overall goal in 2018, Super Bowl 53. Barring anything crazy occurring before the Patriots season opener, one should expect this draft class to make an impact throughout the season.
Also, how could one forget the return of Julian Edelman?
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