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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jordy McElroy

Projecting the Patriots’ 2023 starting offense post-free agency

Things could look very different on the offensive side of the ball for the New England Patriots in the 2023 season.

Since the start of free agency, the team has been active in signing talent to fill various positions, including running back, offensive tackle, tight end and wide receiver.

It isn’t surprising considering the offense was a complete disaster last season. Most of that was due to coach Bill Belichick trying to shoehorn his former defensive coach, Matt Patricia, into a de facto offensive coordinator role. The mere thought of it is enough to infuriate even the most tranquil of Patriots fans.

But it’s a new day in New England with fresh faces on the roster. This is the time to leave the smoldering wreckage from last season in the rearview and look towards a brighter future.

If the season started today, these players would be the Patriots’ projected offensive starters.

QB Mac Jones

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Despite all of the Bailey Zappe noise, the starting quarterback job in New England is still Mac Jones’ to lose. The good news is Bill O’Brien is taking over the reins as the new offensive coordinator for a unit that looked unrecognizable under Patricia. Jones should have everything he needs to succeed in 2023.

RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rhamondre Stevenson broke out last season and eventually surpassed Damien Harris on the depth chart. After eclipsing 1,000 yards in only his second year in the NFL, he’ll be looking to work his way into the conversation of the other elite running backs in the league.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

Chris Unger/Getty Images

JuJu Smith-Schuster joins a Patriots receiving corps that constantly struggled to create separation. While Smith-Schuster won’t cure the team’s need for a No. 1 receiver, he will give them a more explosive option with the ball in his hands. Yards after the catch will be crucial for this Patriots team.

WR DeVante Parker

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DeVante Parker doesn’t get enough respect for what he accomplished for the Patriots in his first season with the team. He was thrown into a train wreck offense and still hauled in 31 receptions for 539 yards and three touchdowns, despite appearing in just 13 games. With a better play-caller, Parker has a chance to take flight for the Patriots in a big way in 2023.

WR Kendrick Bourne

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Kendrick Bourne spent most of the 2022 season in Patricia’s doghouse. O’Brien’s arrival should represent a fresh start for the 27-year-old receiver. Under Josh McDaniels, he had a career-high 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns.

TE Hunter Henry

Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Mike Gesicki is joining the tight end room, but there’s no question Hunter Henry is the leading man at the position. Jones needs a security blanket, and there’s no reason why Henry can’t be that player for him in an offense that no longer has Jakobi Meyers.

LT Trent Brown

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Trent Brown had his fair share of ups and downs in the 2022 season, but he’s still a mammoth of a human being on the offensive line. When he’s locked in, he’s as good as anyone at the tackle position. An opportunity to work with Patriots newly-hired offensive line coach Adrian Klemm could help him get back to his dominant ways.

RT Riley Reiff

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Riley Reiff might have signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal, but he also signed a contract with $4.5 million in guaranteed money. That isn’t the kind of money you throw at a player with no future in the offense. Reiff could be a major contributor in 2023.

C David Andrews

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The Patriots struggled to replace David Andrews when the injury bug came biting last season. He’s the heart of the offensive line engine and the top communicator on the unit. So having him back in the fold and healthy is a huge plus for New England.

LG Cole Strange

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Cole Strange will be the most intriguing player to watch in this unit. If he continues to trend in the right direction, the Patriots would have one of the best guard tandems in the league. The future is bright for the former Moc out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

RG Michael Onwenu

AP Photo/Paul Connors

Michael Onwenu might have been the biggest Pro Bowl snub of the 2022 season. The Patriots’ offensive guard proved to be one of the best guards in the league, finishing the year with the fourth-highest overall Pro Football Focus grade.

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