The actions of the New England Patriots this offseason are that of a team with short-term goals of trying to capitalize on a two or three-year window to win a Super Bowl. However, the team’s actions during the 2014 NFL Draft do not reflect that as they did not do a lot to provide support for quarterback Tom Brady, who carried the team for large stretches of the season last year.
Simply put, he needs more help if New England expects to return to the AFC Championship Game and have a chance to win a Super Bowl.
Last year, New England had few outside targets or downfield threats among its receiving corps, relying a lot on slot receiver Julian Edelman and the frequently injured tandem of Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski. In a draft full of tall and talented wide receivers and a few marquee tight ends, the Patriots didn’t draft anyone at either position until taking 5-foot-7’ wide receiver Jeremy Gallon 244th overall.
Even with the free agent signing of Brandon LaFell, the Patriots should have used their first or second-round pick on one of the several wide receivers available ready to make an impact in their rookie season. Instead, they used their early draft picks on injury-prone defensive lineman Dominique Easley and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who won’t do anything to help New England win in 2014.
To New England’s credit, they did draft three offensive linemen in an effort to keep Brady better protected, and that should help. But in terms of adding playmakers who can take some of the pressure off Brady to make perfect throws, the Patriots haven’t added anyone other than LaFell, which means they’ll rely on Amendola and Gronkowski to stay healthy this season, while hoping Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins can make significant strides in their second season.
The Patriots should be all-in on the 2014 season, and all-in on doing what they can to help Brady during the final few seasons of his career. They needed to take an offensive skill player early in this year’s draft, and not doing so is one of the reasons why their draft class has been widely criticized.