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Projecting New England Patriots skill position depth chart and fantasy impact

The Patriots landed several key free agents and draft picks to the skill positions. Where do they all fit into Bill Belichick’s plans in 2021?

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton hugs teammate James White after their 7 yard touchdown reception against the New York Jets during first quarter action at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots host the New York Jets for the final game of their 2020 NFL season at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 3, 2021. Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The first year following the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick divorce went to the quarterback as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl, while the New England Patriots failed to make the postseason with a 7-9 record. The Patriots had a number of COVID-19 opt outs, and the Cam Newton experiment did not quite work out, but he’s back along with plenty of new faces.

New England was about as active as a team can get in the offseason with plenty of free agency moves to key positions, and the Patriots landed a big fish in the draft when they selected Mac Jones with their first round draft choice. When teams zig, Bill Belichick typically zags as the franchise spent quite a bit of money this offseason as they look to be more competitive in 2021 and beyond.

Quarterback

  1. Cam Newton
  2. Mac Jones
  3. Jarrett Stidham

Running back

  1. Damien Harris
  2. Sony Michel
  3. James White
  4. Rhamondre Stevenson

Wide receiver

  1. Nelson Agholor
  2. Kendrick Bourne
  3. Jakobi Meyers
  4. N’Keal Harry

Tight end

  1. Jonnu Smith
  2. Hunter Henry

Biggest offseason changes

There was a big question mark at the Patriots quarterback position heading into the offseason, and they ended up re-signing Cam Newton, and former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones fell all the way down to New England in the first round. Bill Belichick appears to have his quarterback of the future in the post-Tom Brady era. Additionally, the Patriots are going back to their stud tight end approach that worked so well with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez by signing Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry in the offseason.

Biggest questions for fantasy football

The Patriots have question marks all over at the skill positions heading into the summer months from a fantasy perspective. At quarterback, it remains to be seen who will get the start in Week 1, but we’d guess it’s going to be Newton as Jones transitions to playing football at the professional level. Regardless, it’s difficult to project who will be the player worth targeting in fantasy drafts.

The running back position is always a bit of a crapshoot for the Patriots. Damien Harris appears to be the No. 1 option at this point, but that could be handed over to one of the other backs at any moment. Reports have surfaced that rookie Rhamondre Stevenson’s performance could lead to Sony Michel being cut prior to the start of the season. Drafting a New England running back is always a gamble and incredibly difficult to project.

The Patriots went to the free agent market for the wide receiver position with former San Francisco 49ers wideout Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, formerly of the Las Vegas Raiders. Still, the group lacks any sort of top-end talent at the position that also includes Jakobi Meyers and former first round pick N’Keal Harry, who hasn’t been able to get much going in his career.