By all accounts the Patriots enjoyed a tremendous offseason. By acquiring the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Brandon Cooks and others, Bill Belichick set the stage for an already championship-caliber team to improve.
But Belichick often talks teams needing more than just the most talented players. Successful seasons also involve role players, some who arrive without much fanfare who turn out to be contributing members of winning teams.
That's where we're looking for this week's Samsonite Make Your Case. This week's question is: Which under-the-radar newcomer will have the biggest impact this season?
PFW's Andy Hart says ...
I've been impressed with James O'Shaughnessy's athleticism going back to the spring. He moves really well for a man his size (6-4, 245) and he has shown soft hands and the ability to get open. He overcame an injury suffered early in camp and appears to have picked up right where he left off prior to missing time. In West Virginia he even appeared to be earning some trust from Tom Brady, catching a nice seam route in traffic between a pair of Texans defenders. O'Shaughnessy was a special teams stalwart in Kansas City as well, so that versatility should allow him to carve out a role on offense in time. Dwayne Allen is entrenched as the second tight end, but based on what I've seen, O'Shaughnessy may be the more effective pass catcher in 2017.
PFW's Paul Perillo says ...
There are some good candidates to choose from like Harvey Langi and Adam Butler but I'm going to go with Lawrence Guy for a couple of reasons. First, he has the versatility to play in both four- and three-man lines by sliding inside and out. Second, the Patriots lack of depth at defensive end may force Guy into a bigger role than anticipated, perhaps even playing on the outside on a regular basis. He appears to have the size and ability to play stout against the run, which is necessary in the Patriots front. He's not necessarily a gifted pass rusher, but he can pop loose inside from time to time and cause some havoc. The Patriots front seven is rather young and inexperienced so having a guy like Guy (sorry) who's been around will pay dividends throughout the season.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.