Each offseason, each NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the New England Patriots is looking better these days?
Training camp begins later this month for all 32 NFL teams. So that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.
Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we are going to take a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which it made the most strides this offseason. We’re going division by division this time around and will start in the AFC East with the champion New England Patriots.
It’s not like Bill Belichick’s team is hurting in this area. It’s a group that includes veterans Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and 2016 fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell. The quartet combined for 191 receptions (98 by Edelman) and 15 scores. Of course, prolific quarterback Tom Brady spreads the ball around to his running backs and tight ends. The key is having the playmakers make the plays.
Now via trade and free agency, respectively, the New England Patriots added wideouts Brandin Cooks (New Orleans Saints) and Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland Browns). The former spent three seasons catching passes from Drew Brees in the Big Easy. He comes off a year in which he hauled in 78 passes for a team-best 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Hawkins comes off a season in which he played all 16 games for the first time in his six-year NFL career. But he made just five starts and hauled in only 33 passes for 324 yards and three scores. Of course, the one-time Cincinnati Bengals wideout saw his share of different quarterbacks with Hue Jackson’s club this past year. Similar to Hogan and Amendola, a change to scenic Foxborough will do Hawkins a world of good.
The New England Patriots were very proactive this offseason. They added their share of new faces and brought in a lot of experienced players in a variety of ways. Newcomers such as Cooks and Hawkins, as well as continued development of Mitchell, makes this an extremely talented and deep group of wide receivers.