The New England Patriots finished the 2020 NFL season with a record of 7-9 and in third place in the AFC East. For their efforts, the Pats will have the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, making it their highest first-round pick since 2008. That was also the last time New England missed the playoffs.
The Pats moved on from the Tom Brady era this season and named Cam Newton the starting quarterback. Newton did not play great this season and looked like a shell of himself. That being said, there’s a thought that New England could take a quarterback with their first-round pick. The last time Bill Belichick used a high draft pick on a quarterback was Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2014 NFL Draft (No. 62 overall).
The Patriots will face their AFC East divisional opponents six times, half at home and half on the road. In addition, they draw matchups against all for teams from the AFC South and NFC South. The NFL is expected to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule that will feature an inter-conference matchup with a similarly placed team. The Patriots would face the NFC East.