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2023 Patriots Roster- The Final 15, Part Dos-Defense and Special Teams

On to the Defense and Special Teams core players. I feel the Patriots hit a grand slam on all of the first 3 picks in the 2023 draft. In 95 it was Law, Johnson, and Martin. In 96 it was Glenn, Milloy, and Bruschi. My personal feeling is they did this again.

Defense (16)

EDGE (2)

Matthew Judon- The Mouthpiece, voice, and emotional leader (with McCourty gone) of the Patriots Defense. We see that Sacks and the impact plays but last year, he felt better against the run. The continuous worry is what happens to his effectiveness late in the season. The lack of depth at the position doesn't help. The emergency of Uche and a healthy Barmore help with matchups coming into 2023.

Josh Uche- This guy didn't take a jump in 2022, that was a LEAP like Vince Carter dunking. His athleticism and repertoire of moves improved with results in both sacks and pressures. This is the year to see if he's a 3-down player or Yannick Ngakoue.

DL (4)

Christian Barmore- Easily one of the most important guys on this roster. His ability to control the inside, provide a pass rush and eat up double/triple teams is key. He was a problem during his rookie season.

Davon Godchaux- He needs to be the early down stud he is being paid to be. Lawrence Guy isn't on this list nor on my 53-man roster. I think he's gone. Davon needs to fill that run guy, occasional sack guy role.

Deatrich Wise- He gets better every single year. Last season we saw some EDGE work, especially when Baltimore had a Rookie playing out of position and Wise ate that day.

Keion White- My utility guy. He could be listed with the EDGE group too but his size allows him to be inside also. His athleticism is off the chart, which includes covering RB downfield like an OTB Linebacker. Extremely unique player, my hope is it is he, Barmore, Judon, and Uche on 3rd down obvious pass situations.

Off the Ball LB (3)

Ja'Whaun Bentley- The early down, thumper, Ted Johnson role with this group. He got better at shooting the gaps on run blitzes. He's a team leader, got paid, and just gets the scheme. High Football IQ.

Jahlani Tavai- I heard an interesting stat on Tavai last season. The guy doesn't miss tackles and sets the EDGE. As the season moved on, he became more comfortable with the scheme and showed some of the reasons he was a 2nd round pick. He didn't go to the Cassius Marsh School of setting the EDGE.

Marte Mapu- Laugh now, when I watch him, I get Brian Urlacher vibes. I'm not putting him in the hall but his ability to cover ground and make up for mistakes with his athleticism is off the charts. He's an eraser, it's a great nickname for him.

CB (3)

Christian Gonzalez- How he slid to #17 needs to be investigated. I watched the Utah/Oregon game where he and fellow first-round pick Dalton Kincaid (Pats fans, he's going to be a problem) stole the show. He moved around with the biggest/best WR, contributed in the run game, and manned up on a key fourth down play vs Vale from Utah. He logged snaps at all 6 CB positions (RCB, LCB, Slot Outside Corner, and inside Corner on both sides of 5 wide sets. They'll throw him out on play one vs Philly and just watch the season.

Jonathan Jones- His best spot is in the Slot but he spent a lot of 2022 on the outside, covering top WR. Some talk about him taking on the McCourty role because of his speed, skillset, and sure tackling.

Marcus Jones- He saw a lot of Adams in the Raiders game and didn't get torched. He flashes tremendous ball skills, can help on Offense, and is a return nightmare. He shows a lot of maturity for a young player.

Safety (4)

Kyle Dugger- PAY HIM, NOW. He took the next step in 2022, where he finds himself around the ball when it was available and turned turnovers into touchdowns. He needs to improve his coverage angles. The TD before the half in the Miami opener was on him.

Jabrill Peppers- Intense, Intense, Intense. He brings a physicality to every play whether its on the tackle or maybe after the whistle. Belichick spoke of his improvement this offseason, let's see what the specific role will be.

Adrian Phillips- I'll always respect this guy for being a team guy in 2018 for the Chargers. He played LB at his size and the Patriots took advantage of it in the run game and surely gained respect. When I look at this group, I think 1996 where you had guys like Clay, Milloy, Terry Ray, Jerome Henderson, and Corwin Brown at Safety, they had major versatility. Who was the DB coach then?

Jalen Mills- He could be the Free Safety in the McCourty role or back to a CB role with the unknown which is the Jack Jones legal situation.

Special Teams (6)

K. Chad Ryland and P Bryce Baringer- Big 10 Kickers and Punters play in every possible weather situation, they're battle tested. With two strong legs, we need to know who is booting the ball through the end zone in Buffalo this year.

Joe Cardona- Long Snapper (yeah I've got nothing)

Matt Slater- The gunner and team emotional leader is back for 2023. He will pass the torch to guys like Schooler and Board.

Chris Board- Belichick went full sportsgasm on Board and his Special Teams prowess.

Brenden Schooler- Gunner who is the new Nate Ebner.

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