New England Patriots

Eliot Wolf thinks Patriots' current roster can support rookie QB

The Patriots have yet to make a major addition to their offensive roster this offseason.

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The New England Patriots offense scored just 13.9 points per game during the 2023 NFL season, which tied for last place with the Carolina Panthers.

Lackluster play at quarterback was the primary reason for the offense's struggles. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe didn't protect the football and failed to make enough winning plays late in the fourth quarter to consistently win games.

The Patriots haven't made any major additions to their roster through free agency, but the signings of running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver K.J. Osborn were solid moves. Neither player is a star, but both add quality depth at key positions.

Is it possible people are underestimating the Patriots offense right now? De fact general manager Eliot Wolf was asked about that during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday.

"I do, yes. I mean, we have NFL receivers. We have NFL tight ends. We have NFL running backs. We have NFL offensive linemen," Wolf said.

"We feel good about where we are, and we feel through free agency, on the offensive side in particular, that we've been able to supplement our roster properly so we're not having to draft for need as much offensively."

If you look at the Patriots' roster, it's pretty clear they do still have plenty of needs on offense. Quarterback is obviously the top need, even after they signed veteran Jacoby Brissett in free agency. Wide receiver is another huge roster weakness. The receiving corps is deeper than it was last season, but it still lacks a true No. 1 who can get open and cause matchup problems for opposing defenses. Re-signing Mike Onwenu was important, but the offensive tackle spot is still an area of concern.

All three of those positions -- QB, WR and OT -- need to be addressed early in the 2024 NFL Draft next week.

Wolf was also asked if he thinks the Patriots' roster as currently constructed is capable of supporting a rookie next season.

"I do," Wolf said. "I read a lot of that storyline. I'm not really sure what that means. We have a solid offensive line - we re-signed Mike Onwenu, we have David Andrews coming back, we have three rookies that we drafted last year that are developing, we signed (Chukwuma) Okorafor from the Steelers. Hunter Henry, I mean, a good running game, a solid foundation and a solid system in place with Coach (Alex) Van Pelt on the offense. So I definitely feel like we can support."

One of the biggest mistakes the Patriots made with Mac Jones was not surrounding him with enough talent on offense. Even if the Patriots draft a quality quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the first round, it's going to be very difficult for that player to succeed if he doesn't have enough playmakers, especially in the passing attack.

Wide receiver and the offensive line still need significant upgrading. If those kinds of additions aren't made before Week 1, the Patriots would be better off starting Brissett and not a rookie QB to begin the 2024 season.

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