The Patriots still have one particular question mark surrounding their roster, but Peter King isn’t putting too much stock in New England’s area of need.
King, like many others, was a bit perplexed when the Patriots elected not to take a tight end in this year’s NFL draft. New England did sign an undrafted free-agent tight end following the draft and boosted depth at the position by bringing old friend Benjamin Watson out of retirement. Still, the hole Rob Gronkowski left behind via his retirement remains a sizeable one.
But despite the few uncertainties, New England remains among the NFL’s best in the eyes of King, who had the reigning Super Bowl champions slated second in his power rankings listed Monday in his latest Football Morning America column for NBC Sports.
I just kept thinking as New England, round-by-round, let tight ends go by in the draft: Well, Bill Belichick knows he needs a tight end badly, and if he doesn’t take one, it must mean he didn’t love one, or he has plans beyond the draft. One of those plans, post-Gronk, was Ben Watson, who was highly peeved to not be active for the NFC title game as a Saint, and felt he had unfinished business as a player when he retired after the season. Watson, even at 38, is a useable player familiar with Patriot ways because he played for them for six years. I’m not sure Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be much of a factor either. And we’ll see who else comes available. Could Kyle Rudolph, for instance, in Minnesota, be a June cap casualty? That would be a golden piece for New England, though I have no idea if he’d sign with the Patriots if released. Looking at the Patriots this spring, I’m not going to sit here and kill them for not taking a Jace Sternberger in the draft. I, along with the rest of the media world, learned a lesson sometime around the fifth or sixth Super Bowl that Belichick and personnel czar Nick Caserio might know what they’re doing, and they usually figure out a better-than-competent roster to play with Tom Brady by November.
The Patriots are unrivaled when it comes to making the most of that they have, and while things are viewed under a finer microscope in New England, their current perceived shortcomings aren’t very troubling relative to other teams’. As such, the Pats’ position on King’s rankings seems fair.
That’s said, we’re still months away from the 2019 campaign getting underway, and a whole lot can change from now and early September.
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