The New England Patriots aren't having a good time in 2023. They're 2-8, quarterback Mac Jones looks terrible and Bill Belichick has found himself on the hot seat.
The likelihood of Belichick being fired remains low, at best guess at least. However, the signs that he's lost some of the edge in terms of coaching and team building are piling up.
With the Patriots waiving Jack Jones on Monday, the 2022 Patriots draft class has come into focus. To say it hasn't bolstered New England much would be an understatement.
Patriots 2022 NFL Draft class looks like a giant dud
Rd 1: OL Cole Strange (starter)
Rd 2: WR Tyquan Thornton (2nd string)
Rd 3: CB Marcus Jones (IR)
Rd 4: DB Jack Jones (cut)
Rd 4: RB Pierre Strong (traded)
Rd 4: QB Bailey Zappe (2nd string)
Rd 6: RB Kevin Harris (practice quad)
Rd 6: DE Sam Roberts (3rd string)
Rd 6: G Chasen Hines (cut)
Rd 7: OL Andrew Stueber (practice squad)
Some draft classes just don't pan out, but this one fell apart in under two seasons.
Cole Strange is the only regular starter of the bunch and he's one of the Patriots worst-rated offensive linemen.
Tyquan Thornton is second string in a New England receiving corps that leaves plenty to be desired. He has just three catches in 2023. The Steelers picked up George Pickens two picks after the Pats grabbed Thornton, for the record.
Marcus Jones has looked like a strong special teams presence and decent defensive back, but he's on injured reserve, so his impact at this point is limited.
Bailey Zappe is a backup who's inspired such little faith in his coaches that they won't bench an underperforming Jones in his favor. The Commanders got Sam Howell a round after Zappe, by the way.
Neither running back, Pierre Strong or Kevin Harris, the Patriots drafted has made a difference. And there were no diamonds in the rough snatched up in the late rounds.
With a draft like that, no wonder the Patriots are lagging. And no wonder some are wondering if Belichick should be allowed to run the 2024 NFL Draft class in New England.
Realistically, Belichick should still have an opportunity to prove he can get it right, but you can bet the 2022 class will be brought up when the Belichick era ends.