6 Patriots who New England can still build a winning team around

The Patriots are just bad, there is just no way around it. Changes are coming but not all hope should be lost — they have talent to build around for the future.

Dec 3, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson
Dec 3, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The  Patriots are arguably the worst team in the NFL this year. Although they are not the first team eliminated from playoff contention (that distinction belongs to the Carolina Panthers), they should be there in no time at all.

The offense has struggled to score points, whether helmed by Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe. Changes are coming for all levels in the Patriots organization, possibly starting with head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots haven’t been this bad in nearly 30 years since they finished 6-10 in 1995. But the Patriots still have pieces they can build around for the future. Here are the building blocks already on the roster.

Rhamondre Stevenson

Stevenson is the best player on the Patriots offense. In just three years of work, he has shown he can get it done on both the ground and through the air. Through 17 games last year, he posted 1,046 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, while adding 421 yards receiving. Unfortunately, Stevenson sprained his ankle early in Sunday’s losing effort against the Los Angeles Chargers, when the offense scored zero points. This year he has rushed for 619 yards and has caught 38 balls for 238 yards with four total touchdowns.

Cole Strange

It was a head-scratching pick for everyone in 2022 when the Patriots selected Cole Strange in the first round. All over social media, the pick was turned into a meme, from Belichick’s dog making the pick to Sean McVay openly mocking it. Well, Belichick appeared to know what he was doing when he selected Strange, who only allowed one sack at Chattanooga. In his second year, Strange has not only shown he can hold his own but that he can be a quality guard. Strange can be a building block on the interior offensive line after veteran David Andrews retires.

Christian Barmore

At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Barmore has made his presence felt on the football field. Although the third-year defensive tackle is not yet considered among the best in the league, he is a dominant force. Only posting eight career sacks, Barmore excels at occupying blockers to help his teammates make a play. Barmore also has 30 total tackles through 12 games this year. Barmore can be a powerful anchor for a Patriots' defense that needs to improve at every position group.

Josh Uche

Pass rusher Josh Uche has been relatively quiet this year, often overshadowed by the rusher opposite of him, Matthew Judon. But Uche has shown how productive he can be with his unique blend of speed and power. In his best season, last year, Uche had 11.5 sacks. The four-year player will be in New England for longer than Matthew Judon and will be a productive one.

Christian Gonzalez

The Patriots selected Gonzalez this past draft in the first round. Out of Oregon, he looked like he was a slam dunk pick for the Patriots. Through four games, he was targeted 17 times and had one interception. Unfortunately, Gonzales tore his labrum and dislocated his shoulder early in the season against the Dallas Cowboys. He landed on injured reserve and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. With a blend of size and ball skills, Gonzalez is dangerous to all opposing quarterbacks.

Kyle Dugger

Dugger is a consistent player for the Patriots. He has missed just four games in the past three years, combine that with nine interceptions. That makes Dugger the best player in the Patriots secondary and a ballhawk. By acquiring other solid corners, Dugger can truly roam the field and show his play-making ability.

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