The New England Patriots’ Chase Winovich has shown some flashes of promise in each of his two seasons in the NFL. He has a total of 11 sacks over the course of his short career, but in 2020, Winovich led in sacks created with 8, per ESPN’s Seth Walder.
Chase Winovich is correct, but we've got him with 8!
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 14, 2021
Its clear Winovich is one of the team’s few pass rushers, but he still has some room for growth. That’s precisely what it appears Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is hoping to see Winovich do. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Belichick wants to see Winovich gain some weight ahead of the 2021 season if the 25-year-old is going to continue to rush the passer against the league’s massive offensive tackles.
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Winovich Needs to Be at Close to 260, Says Belichick
Here is what Belichick said during a brief evaluation of player talent.
“At 240ish, 245 [pounds], he would be best suited if he’s on the line of scrimmage going against 320-pound monsters to be 260.”
Winovich is definitely a little light as it pertains to most edge rushers. While he has some explosion at the point of attack, there could be some concern on his side about the way his body will handle the extra muscle mass. If Winovich can get stronger and keep his explosiveness, he could potentially double his sack total with that combination of increased muscle and additional experience.
Patriots Still Need More Help on the Edge
Even if Winovich can transform himself into a top-notch pass rusher. That’s just one side of the Patriots’ pass rush. The other side is in desperate need of a talent injection. Winovich’s fellow Michigan alum Josh Uche showed some nice promise in his limited time on the field.
Uche is also a little smallish at 6’3″ 245 pounds, but he is another young Patriots linebacker who has turned some heads in his relatively short time on the field. Perhaps in 2021, Winovich and Uche will provide a steady edge pass rush for the Patriots.
Uche showed some great versatility in 2020, though there is a belief he may have been given too much responsibility early on in his career. Belichick is seemingly high on Uche as well. Here is how he described the 2020 season what he envisions for him in 2021:
“We were kind of trying to figure out early what his best spot would be, and took a little while for all that to materialize. He’s a good football player and we’ll be able to define his role and his situation much better next year. … he’s got a good future.”
If the Patriots are looking for some depth in this regard, they will need to attack the NFL Draft and free agency to plug some of the potential holes. The Patriots have some major issues on offense, so the early portion of the draft might be all about fixing things on that side of the ball. In light of this, the Patriots may not select an edge defender until the second or third day. However, as we’ve learned from the Patriots in previous years, the best are often taken later in the draft.
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