Thursday, February 9, 2023

Patriots 2022 depth chart: DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton add heightened ceiling for passing game

As the preseason wages on, the New England Patriots are currently combing through their roster and determining who’ll make the final grouping of 53 men that they’ll start the 2022 season off with. Along with already having exhibitions in the books, Bill Belichick and his staff may have previously tipped their hand just a bit as to who has the inside track at making the team in their in-stadium scrimmage earlier in camp. Still, there’s plenty of time between now and when New England will head down to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 1 for players to state their case. 

Below, you’ll find the full Patriots depth chart and a breakdown of the offense, defense, and special teams units. 

Offense

The quarterback room is pretty cut-and-dry with Mac Jones leading the group as he rolls into his second year in the league, while Brian Hoyer backs him up and rookie Bailey Zappe develops behind the scenes. There may have been a school of thought going into camp that Hoyer could be on the bubble, but his knowledge and experience should be looked at as an asset for New England’s offense as they go into the year without an offensive coordinator in title. 

Even with James White retiring, the backfield is arguably one of the deepest areas of the Patriots roster. However, the question does linger regarding who’ll adopt the passing back role out of this group. Damien Harris will continue to be the early down back and likely lead the team in carries, but second-year back Rhamondre Stevenson could be in line for more work as well and possibly be that option in the passing game. Stevenson noted earlier in camp that he spent the offseason working on being a better pass-catcher, running route, and holding up in pass protection. He also came into camp much leaner, which is an encouraging sign for his prospects. 

Behind Harris and Stevenson, Ty Montgomery may be the most intriguing player in this position group. As we’ve seen throughout his career, Montgomery has been used in a multitude of ways throughout the summer and almost seems like a slam dunk to make the club, which could come at the expense of J.J. Taylor. Rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris will likely be sprinkled in throughout the year. 

As we look at the receiver unit, it’s certainly much deeper than it’s been in years past, albeit without a clear-cut No. 1 option. DeVante Parker has made several “wow” plays throughout camp and does seem to have a quick rapport with Mac Jones. Rookie Tyquan Thornton also seems like he could buck New England’s recent trend of striking out at the NFL Draft as he’s also put together a strong camp and caught a touchdown in the preseason opener. Then, you have carryovers last year, which include Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, who are roster locks. The one wideout that may be in jeopardy could be Nelson Agholor after a subpar first season in 2021. At the bottom of the depth chart, Tre Nixon, Kristian Wilkerson, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey have all performed well during camp, but will likely need to continue to show out and display special teams versatility to make a case to be on the 53-man roster. 

At tight end, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are locks and it’ll be interesting to see how Belichick weeds through this position group as there are other areas on the roster that have a ton of depth. Dalton Keene and Matt Sokol could both likely make it through to the practice squad, but New England would be rolling the dice if they try that maneuver with Devin Asiasi. 

In front of Mac Jones, the offensive line is a bit different from what he experienced last year. At the tackle spots, Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn have swapped spots with Brown now at left tackle and Wynn over at right tackle. Rookie Cole Strange is expected to start immediately at left guard, while David Andrews and Mike Onwenu are familiar faces at center and right guard, respectively. 

Defense 

LDE

Deatrich Wise Jr.

Henry Anderson

Jeremiah Pharms Jr.

DT

Davon Godchaux

Christian Barmore

Carl Davis Jr., Sam Roberts, Daniel Ekuale, LaBryan Ray

RDE

Lawrence Guy

OLB

Matthew Judon

Anfernee Jennings

ILB

Ja’Whaun Bentley

Mack Wilson Sr. 

Raekwon McMillan, Jahlani Tavai, Harvey Langi, Cameron McGrone

OLB

Josh Uche

Ronnie Perkins

DaMarcus Mitchell

CB

Terrance Mitchell

Jack Jones

Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel

DB

Jonathan Jones

Marcus Jones

Myles Bryant

S

Adrian Phillips

Kyle Dugger

Cody Davis, Brenden Schooler

S

Devin McCourty

Jabrill Peppers

Joshuah Bledsoe, Jalen Elliot, Brad Hawkins

RCB

Jalen Mills

Malcolm Butler

Shaun Wade, Devin Hafford

New England’s defensive line has mainstays like Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise, and Davon Godchaux, who just inked an extension and received massive praise from Bill Belichick. The most exciting player in this grouping, however, is 2021 second-round pick, Christian Barmore. The Alabama product could be in line for a breakup sophomore season as he’s impressed in camp after having an already standout showing over his rookie year. 

When looking at the linebackers, the Patriots are going through a changing of the guard. Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Kyle Van Noy have departed and now a new cast of characters is slated to step up. Of course, Matthew Judon will be the team’s main pass rusher and Josh Uche will be the other linebacker coming off the edge. Anfernee Jennings could also factor into New England’s pass-rushing plans as well. Ja’Whaun Bentley will be the Patriots’ starting off-ball linebacker, but Mack Wilson — acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns this offseason — will see plenty of snaps there as well and has opened eyes throughout camp. Veteran Raekwon McMillan, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, will be used at middle linebacker as well.   

In the secondary, the biggest question coming into camp was who would take over as the starting outside corner in the wake of J.C. Jackson leaving in free agency. So far, Terrance Mitchell looks to have ahold of the job opposite of Jalen Mills. Rookie Jack Jones could ascend to that spot as he continues to develop, while Malcolm Butler likely will serve as a depth piece if he can fend off Shaun Wade and Myles Bryant. Meanwhile, the safety position is the deepest position on the team with Kyle Dugger, Devin McCourty, Jabrill Peppers, and Adrian Phillips headlining the group as roster locks. Joshuah Bledsoe has impressed in camp and he’ll need to continue to do so to force himself onto the 53-man roster. 

Special teams

There really isn’t anything too crazy going on in terms of competition on special teams. Nick Folk is solidified as the team’s placekicker and punter Jake Bailey recently inked a four-year deal with the club. Looking at the return game, rookie Marcus Jones could be the future as he thrived as both a kickoff and punt returner during his collegiate days at Houston. Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery has been a versatile piece to New England’s plans all summer, which includes getting some work in as a kickoff returner in camp. 

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