The 2021 Patriots were a team of runs. A 2-4 start was followed by a seven-game winning streak, with a 1-4 finish to the season including the wild card loss to the Bills. In some ways, this pattern mirrored many of their games with a slow start, strong push towards the middle, but just not enough late.
Still, it was a massive improvement after a sub-.500 finish in 2020. Whereas at this time last year the Patriots were facing a near-total overhaul, they head into this offseason looking to make strategic additions, and round out the edges of the core they’ve already built.
Based on the 2021 season, which positions performed the best and which need more attention? Here’s a look at our position-by-position grades, starting with the offense (you can find the defense and special teams grades here).
A few things to note before we get started. First, the grades are as much based on preseason expectations as they are overall performance. Second, the grades are weighted with a recency bias. Football is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ game, and these grades reflect that. Strong showings early in the season factor in, but teams tend to base their end of year evaluations on what players looked like more towards the end of the season, so we’ll do the same.