Bill Belichick always talks about the need for teams to adapt from one season to the next. Turnover in the NFL is commonplace, and that’s certainly been the case for the Patriots over the years.
Each season the Patriots have received contributions from a variety of players who arrived through free agency, trade or the draft and in 2018 that class has enjoyed success as well. Belichick was active in the trade market, acquiring the likes of Trent Brown, Josh Gordon, Danny Shelton, Jason McCourty and Cordarrelle Patterson. He also signed free agents Adrian Clayborn and Jeremy Hill while welcoming a draft class that has been hurt by injuries but also includes starting running back Sony Michel.
There are a lot of new names to pick from but this week’s Samsonite Make Your Case debate is looking for one. Who has been the best newcomer for the Patriots this season?
PFW’s Andy Hart says …
The No. 1 question on everyone’s mind during the offseason was who would replace Nate Solder at left tackle protecting Tom Brady’s blind side? After a couple weeks of workouts, it was no longer much of a question.
Mammoth Trent Brown stepped in and ably replaced Solder and provided a consistent presence on the left side. It hasn’t always been perfect, but Brown has been durable and tough while preventing the kinds of breakdowns that can lead to trouble for quarterbacks.
His work in both pass protection and run blocking has been solid and virtually from the moment he stepped in the first group back in spring OTAs, there has been barely a concern about the often-underappreciated position.
Brown earned Brady’s confidence quickly and has been a nice find at left tackle.
PFW’s Paul Perillo says …
Admittedly my pick is a little different since the Patriots didn’t acquire him until the season started but Josh Gordon has been a mainstay in the passing game throughout the second half of the season.
The offense was struggling looking for options when the Patriots took on the talented-but-troubled wideout and he has fit in nicely since. He provides a big target for Brady on the outside, and his strong frame and hands have made quick slants a weapon in the attack as he typically drags tacklers for extra yardage.
While Gordon hasn’t been the explosive playmaker many were expecting, his steady presence has been a huge lift to the offense and he has developed into an indispensable piece to the puzzle at this point.
There may have been some desperation to the move, but Gordon has done the job.
Now it's your turn to cast your vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.