We still have a few months remaining, but Pro Football Focus is already ready to project the starting lineups for all 32 NFL teams.
There may not be a ton of surprises when it comes to the New England Patriots, especially at quarterback, but here is a look at the projected starters on offense:
Patriots’ Projected Starters – Offense
- QB: Jarrett Stidham
- RB: Sony Michel
- WR: Mohamed Sanu
- WR: N’Keal Harry
- Slot: Julian Edelman
- TE: Devin Asiasi
- LT: Isaiah Wynn
- LG: Joe Thuney
- C: David Andrews
- RG: Shaq Mason
- RT: Marcus Cannon
The Patriots seem set to start just one rookie on offense, and that’s the promising tight end out of UCLA, Devin Asiasi. While QB Jarrett Stidham isn’t technically a rookie, he only threw four passes in the regular season in 2019, which was his first season in the NFL.
He’s almost like a first-year player and he’s playing the most important position on the field. That said, for as much transition as the team saw during the offseason. Beyond the mammoth switch from Tom Brady to Stidham, very little will change on offense with the expected return of center David Andrews, and the franchise tagging of guard Joe Thuney.
He isn’t listed here, but rookie tight end/fullback Dalton Keene is also expected to see solid minutes. If there is a player who has to have a big season–besides Stidham–it is wide receiver, N’Keal Harry. Head coach Bill Belichick has mentioned him by name several times this offseason, and the team used a first-round pick on him last year.
Harry must show significant strides if the Patriots’ offense is to reach its potential. Here is a look at the projected starters on defense.
Patriots Projected Starters – Defense
- DI: Lawrence Guy
- DI: Adam Butler
- EDGE: Chase Winovich
- EDGE: John Simon
- LB: Dont’a Hightower
- LB: Ja’Whaun Bentley
- CB: Stephon Gilmore
- CB: Jason McCourty
- CB: Jonathan Jones
- S: Devin McCourty
- S: Adrian Phillips
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PFF doesn’t have a single rookie slated to start in Week 1 for the Patriots. That said, almost everyone expects Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, and second-round pick Kyle Dugger to play significant roles in 2020.
The starters listed above who are perhaps the most likely to be leapfrogged on the depth chart are John Simon and Ja’Whaun Bentley. Uche will likely push hard to start on the opposite side of his former Michigan Wolverines teammate Chase Winovich. Jennings will offer some serious pressure to Bentley to increase his snaps at the interior linebacker spot.
One interesting aspect of this projection on defense is penciling in Adrian Phillips as a started over Patrick Chung. It also might not be outside of the realm of possibility to see Chung released as a salary-cap casualty closer to training camp. If Dugger comes along and the team likes what they see from Phillips, Chung might be expendable.
It’s just one of several interesting stories to follow leading up to the 2020 season.
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