3 Patriots veterans who could lose their jobs to rookies
It should come as no surprise that the addition of 12 rookie draft picks, along with the influx of undrafted rookies, could lead to change on the New England Patriots’ roster.
That could mean key veteran players being forced to take a backseat to the new wave of talent on the team. The Bill Belichick machine continues to roll every single year with new cogs in the wheel, and that will be no different in the 2023 season.
New England has added young playmakers capable of stepping onto the field with a rocket strapped to their backs and taking off right away.
Here are three players that could lose their jobs to rookies:
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The Patriots didn’t trade up in the fourth round of the draft for rookie kicker Chad Ryland to just ride it out on the bench. There is a clear path for the former Maryland specialist to replace veteran kicker Nick Folk.
Whether that happens in Year 1 or not remains to be seen.
It would be a bad look for the Patriots if it didn’t happen right away for a player already viewed as one of the more unpopular picks of the draft. What better way of proving naysayers wrong than Ryland booting Folk out of a roster spot and taking over as the new starting kicker?
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There’s no shame in Jonathan Jones being ousted from the No. 1 cornerback spot on the depth chart, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen with first-round draft pick Christian Gonzalez stepping into the fray.
The former Oregon standout was the warden of his own island in college football. Now, he’ll get an opportunity to put receivers under lock and key at the next level. He’s bigger and more athletic than any of the corners on the Patriots’ roster. So naturally, they’re going to want him matched up against an opponent’s best receiver.
Jack Jones could also move up the depth chart and settle in more permanently as the second outside cornerback, while Jonathan Jones moves back to his natural role in the slot.
DE Lawrence Guy
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Patriots second-round draft pick Keion White is a force of destruction along the defensive front that will see plenty of work in 2023, even if it’s at the expense of Lawrence Guy.
New England has benefitted greatly over the years with Guy on defense. He was even part of the magical Super Bowl LIII run, when the defense achieved juggernaut status. But he also turned 33 years old in March, and the Patriots clearly needed to get younger.
So they went out and grabbed one of the more fearsome pass rushers in the entire draft in the second round. White working in tandem with Matthew Judon, Josh Uche and a healthy Christian Barmore spells all sorts of problems for opposing quarterbacks.