What Are The New England Patriots’ Team Needs In The 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2022 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 28. As a lead-up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of the current depth chart and how big of a need each position is in the upcoming draft. You can find the rest of the team needs (as they’re updated) and the rest of our draft content in the 2022 NFL Draft hub.

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What Picks do the New England Patriots have in 2022

The New England Patriots have seven picks.

Round 1 (21)
Round 2 (54)
Round 3 (85)
Round 4 (127)
Round 5 (158)
Round 5 (170)
Round 6 (210)
Round 6 (211)

New England Patriots Top POSITIONS OF NEED


New England Patriots Strength of Schedule, 2022

The New England Patriots have the 9th hardest NFL strength of schedule for the 2022 season.

New England Patriots Offense

By Rich Hribar


Mac Jones
Brian Hoyer
Jarrett Stidham

Mac Jones led all rookies with 22 touchdowns and 7.3 yards per pass attempt in his first season in New England. 

Retaining veteran Brian Hoyer behind him with Jarrett Stidham still under contract for 2022, New England is not in the market for a rookie passer. 


Damien Harris
Rhamondre Stevenson
James White
Devine Ozigbo
J.J. Taylor
Malcolm Perry

New England was a run-focused offense in 2021, ranking eighth in the league in rushing attempts and yardage on the ground, to go along with 24 rushing scores, second in the league.

The battery of Damien Harris and Rhomondre Stevenson are both are on rookie contracts, with Harris entering the final season of that rookie deal. 

Harris continued to progress in Year 3, turning 220 touches into 1,061 yards and 15 touchdowns, which was fifth at this position. 

Harris is a limited pass catcher, securing just 18 receptions last season, giving him 23 catches through three years in the league. Harris has run a total of just seven pass routes on third down the past two seasons as the Patriots have leaned into having their backs in specific roles.

Stevenson was fifth in the league last year in touch rate per snap (57%) and offers the most three-down potential in this backfield, but we still have yet to see the Patriots steer in that direction unless out of necessity. 

James White is 30 years old and coming off a torn ACL but is in line to walk right back into his role as the back dominating work in pass-heavy situations. In 2021, Brandon Bolden ran 95 pass routes on third downs compared to three total for Harris and Stevenson. 

The Patriots have no business using a pick on a running back.


Kendrick Bourne
Jakobi Meyers
DeVante Parker
Nelson Agholor
N’Keal Harry
Ty Montgomery
Matthew Slater
Kristian Wilkerson
Tre Nixon

This is hardly a star-driven unit, but the Patriots made the most of things in 2021 on a per-target basis as they ranked ninth in success rate targeting their wide receivers (53%) and 11th in yards per target (8.2 yards) to the position. 

The rub there is that they targeted the position just 56% of the time, which ranked 26th in the league due to no player commanding opportunity. 

Jakobi Meyers led the team with 126 targets, 56 more than the next closest wide receiver. 

That is a tough way to live given where Meyers operates as he posted a 51% success rate and 1.58 yards per route run on those looks. 

Kendrick Bourne was the most efficient wideout on the roster, posting a 67% success rate and 2.01 yards per route run, but Bourne is more of a complementary player than someone who has garnered a wealth of targets through five years in the NFL. 

Nelson Agholor was a reach in free agency in 2021 as he was due major regression from the year prior and he never fit in with the passing attack. Agholor caught just 37 passes for 473 yards and three touchdowns, posting a 46% success rate when targeted, which was only 64 times. 

New England was able to acquire DeVante Parker and a fifth-round pick in this draft.

Parker still has two palatable deals left on his contract and provides the Patriots and Mac Jones with another boundary wideout, but Parker is not a true alpha wideout and is a questionable fit in this system and Jones.

Parker has ranked dead last (1.7 yards) and second-to-last (1.7 yards) in yards of separation per target the past two seasons. It is not a coincidence that the best Parker has been over his NFL career was paired with the hyper-aggressive Ryan Fitzpatrick.

As a rookie, Mac Jones carried a 15.4% aggressive throw rate (23rd).

Looking at this receiving unit from the top down, only Bourne, Parker and Ty Montgomery are signed beyond this season. 

New England has not had a ton of success shopping for wideouts in the draft, but this is a unit made up of usable pieces, but is still starving for an actual feature wide receiver, especially with a quarterback on a rookie deal. 


Hunter Henry
Jonnu Smith
Devin Asiasi
Dalton Keene

The Patriots were big spenders in free agency last season in locking up both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith right away. That left many puzzled, wondering why they would tie up so much money into position, but at least it was a signal that they were going to play a lot of 12 personnel and have a unique offense, right? Nope.

Henry and Smith logged just 190 total snaps (18.1%) with both on the field, with New England averaging -0.12 EPA per play on those snaps.

Smith ended up on the field for just 51% of the snaps despite missing just one game. He caught 28 passes for 294 yards and one score, posting a 39% success rate when targeted. 

The silver lining for Smith is that the Patriots are still monetarily committed to him and they are removing the fullback from their offense in 2022. 

Henry was Dawson Knox-lite in his first season with the Patriots. Henry was second at his position with 13 end zone targets. He relied on the strength of nine touchdowns to carry his water as he ranked 22nd in targets per game (4.4), 26th in receptions per game (2.9), and 18th in yardage per game (35.5) among tight ends. 

With big money tied into both Henry and Smith paired with Asiasi and Keene on rookie contracts with two seasons left on each, tight end is not a position the Patriots need to attack in the draft.


LT: Isaiah Wynn/Yondy Cajuste/Wiliam Sherman
LG: Michael Onwenu/ Yasir Durant
C: David Andrews
RG: James Ferentz/Drew Desjarlais
RT: Trent Brown/Justin Herron/Arlington Hambright

New England lost two starters in Shaq Mason (trade) and Ted Karras (free agency) this offseason, leaving the possibility open that we see the Patriots shuffle up things with their roster despite where players are currently listed on their depth chart.

Center David Andrews is locked in and signed through 2024. 

After Andrews, all of Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, and Trent Brown are going to make up three of the remaining four spots, the question is just where they exactly will be. 

Onwenu has been a find in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. This past season, he played both left guard and right tackle, excelling at both. Onwenu logged 276 snaps at right tackle, allowing just four pressures and zero sacks on those snaps. He also played 290 snaps at left guard, coming out as the third-highest graded guard per Pro Football Focus.

Onwenu’s flexibility could allow Trent Brown to move back to left tackle and kick Wynn into guard. Many believe Wynn would benefit from the move, but he exclusively played left tackle in the NFL, logging just 25 snaps away from left tackle. He also is in the final year of his rookie contract, so the Patriots will need to have insurance in place long-term in the event he is not on the roster in 2023.

Regardless of where the Patriots deploy these three in 2022, they need an offensive tackle for contractual depth at minimum while there is going to be an open spot on the line. You would rather have that hole at one of the guard positions than at tackle, because you can fill that void with cheaper capital or another veteran but the Patriots are looking for reinforcements up front.

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New England Patriots Defense

By Dan Pizzuta

Interior Defensive Line

Christian Barmore
Davon Godchaux
Lawrence Guy
Henry Anderson
Byron Cowart
Daniel Ekuale
Bill Murray

Christian Barmore made an immediate impact as a second-round rookie in 2021. While he only had 1.5 sacks, Barmore was 13th at the position in pressure rate per SIS. That came as a rotational player who was in on just 55% of the defensive snaps and technically only started two games. That role will expand in 2022.

Davon Godchaux played 59% of the defensive snaps in his first year in New England as a free agent signing from Miami. Lawrence Guy played 49% of the snaps. Those three made up most of the Patriots’ three-down line and a run defense that was about average — 14th in EPA allowed per attempt on the ground.


Matt Judon
Josh Uche
Deatrich Wise
Ronnie Perkins
Anfernee Jenkins

Matt Judon was the perfect fit as an edge in New England’s defense and his first season produced a career-high 12.5 sacks while he ranked third in pressure rate among edge rushers, per SIS. Even with that pass rush production, Judon only rushed on 76.8% of his pass snaps as the Patriots don’t always go with traditional every down pass rushers.

The versatility is key and the rest of the New England pass rush was mostly brought about by linebackers who occasionally rushed the passer. Kyle Van Noy rushed 37% of the time as a linebacker and was effective in that role, but he was released. Josh Uche had a high pressure rate on his limited snaps and could see a bigger role in his third year.

Off-ball Linebacker

Ja’Whaun Bentley
Mack Wilson
Raekwon McMillan
Jahlani Tavai
Harvey Langi
Terez Hall
Cameron McGrone

Dont’a Hightower was the standout in this group and so much of the defense revolved around him taking on extra responsibilities but as of this writing, he is still a free agent.

Van Noy played 75% of the snaps at linebacker, but he’s gone. Ju’Whaun Bentley played 64% of the snaps and the Patriots acquired Mack Wilson from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Chase Winovich, but what’s really missing in this linebacker group is speed.

Luckily for the Patriots, there is no lack of speed in the draft for this position. A player like Georgia’s Channing Tindall could fit as an uber-athletic off-ball/blitzer hybrid the Patriots have molded in the past. 


Malcolm Butler
Jalen Mills
Jonathan Jones
Myles Bryant
Terrance Mitchell
Joejuan Williams
Shaun Wade
Justin Bethel

New England had little interest in retaining J.C. Jackson and now over the past two seasons, the cornerback room has seen a massive overhaul. The Patriots used man coverage at the third-highest rate in the league last season, per SIS, but they don’t currently have the bodies to do so heading into 2022.

Jalen Mills was mostly fine as an outside corner and had mostly good down-to-down consistency, though when he got beat it could be bad — charted with five touchdowns allowed against no interceptions.

The Patriots re-signed Malcolm Butler who last played for New England in 2017 and did not play in 2021 after he retired. Butler was a below average corner in 2020 with the Tennessee Titans (96th in Adjusted Yards allowed per coverage snap).

Jonathan Jones and Joejuan Williams both hovered around average on a per coverage snap basis in limited 2021 playing time. Myles Bryant flashed in 2020 and played well in the slot when he was there in 2021.

There is some depth here and some youth with upside, but little stands out in the way of a Jackson or Stephon Gilmore.


Devin McCourty
Adrian Phillips
Kyle Duggar
Jabrill Peppers
Dody Davis
Joshuah Bledsoe

This is both the strength of the secondary and part of how the Patriots can fill in some holes at linebacker. New England played dime on 20.6% of their defensive snaps, which was the highest rate in the league. 

The best version of that came when Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, and Kyle Duggar were all on the field at the same time. On those 478 regular season plays, the Patriots allowed 4.66 yards per play, which would have been the second-best rate as a season-long defense.

Phillips signed a contract extension this past year and Duggar has two years remaining on his rookie deal. McCourty, the soon-to-be 35-year-old veteran played 94% of the defensive snaps and re-signed for a one-year deal this offseason.

To add to the versatile safety mix, the Patriots signed Jabrill Peppers, who is coming off a torn ACL. At his best Peppers was better downhill than in coverage but that plays well into what New England would need from a fourth safety in this group. 

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