Patriots No. 18 in PFF Roster Rankings
PFF released their 2020 NFL roster rankings on Thursday, which dissect each teams roster, going over the greatest strengths, weaknesses and x factors for all 32 teams in the league.
The New England Patriots were ranked in the bottom half of PFF rankings, coming in at No. 18 on the list.
No team was stingier in pass coverage than the Patriots last season. They allowed the lowest EPA per pass play in the league, and it wasn't particularly close. That shouldn't come as a surprise given the talent and depth New England boasts in its secondary — a group that returns nearly all of its key components in 2020. Stephon Gilmore, the most valuable player in that secondary, has recorded a higher PFF grade (92.2) and more forced incompletions (54) than any other cornerback in the NFL since joining the team in 2017.
If we weren't taking notice that the Patriots receiving corps struggled to create separation prior to Tom Brady's passionate sideline plea for faster, more aggressive play, the broadcast camera capturing that moment put the problem in the national spotlight. The only wide receiver or tight end on the Patriots' roster with a receiving grade of 70.0 or higher in 2019 was Julian Edelman (72.4), and even he was among the league leaders in drops (10). The Patriots will be hoping a healthy Mohamed Sanu and N'Keal Harry take big jumps in 2020.
X factor for 2020
Can this be anyone other than the man tasked with replacing the GOAT? Quarterback Jarrett Stidham took just 15 offensive snaps last regular season as a rookie, but he appears in line to take the reins for 2020. With Stidham's lack of NFL experience, we'll have to look at his college numbers to try to glean some insight into what the Patriots can expect. Stidham came out of the gates firing in 2015 as a freshman at Baylor, with a 91.5 PFF passing grade in limited action, but his grading profile in 2017-18 in Auburn's offense — which doesn't attack the intermediate range of the field with NFL throws — wasn't nearly as impressive. At this point, Stidham being an average NFL quarterback looks like an uphill battle.