As the 2023 NFL season approaches, the New England Patriots have constructed an intriguing roster filled with potential breakout stars. With a mix of new talent and players looking to make significant impacts, the Patriots are poised to make some noise in the league. In this article, we will explore the top five under-the-radar Patriots players to watch in 2023, providing you with the latest NFL information on these rising stars.
Tyquan Thornton - The Promising Wide Receiver
The Patriots selected Thornton in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft, and he showed flashes of high-end potential during his rookie season. Despite playing in a Patriots offense without a clear identity under Matt Patricia, Thornton demonstrated his ability to separate on routes. His breakout game came in Week 17 against the Dolphins where he racked up 60 yards and a touchdown, ending the season on a high note.
With Bill O'Brien overseeing a potentially improved Patriots offense in 2023, particularly if they can sign free agent DeAndre Hopkins, Thornton has the opportunity to break out and become a key contributor to the team's success.
Josh Uche - The Emerging Pass Rusher
Uche spent most of the 2022 season in the shadows of Matthew Judon's monstrous 15.5 sacks performance. However, after notching his first season sack in Week 8 against the New York Jets, Uche went on to post 11.5 sacks. With increased confidence, Uche could emerge as the premier pass rusher in New England, surpassing Judon in the process.
Jack Jones - The Overlooked Cornerback
With the excitement surrounding rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez and the return of Jonathan Jones, many have overlooked Jack Jones. However, you can't ignore last season's impressive performance, which included a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. He also added 25 solo tackles. With the potential to be a top cornerback in New England, Jack Jones could play a crucial role in solidifying the Patriots' secondary as one of the best in the league.
Ty Montgomery - The Versatile Offensive Weapon
Montgomery's 2022 season was cut short, but his ability to impact the team as a third-down option should not be underestimated. Serving in a James White-like role, Montgomery can make plays as a receiver and a traditional running back. As a safety blanket for quarterback Mac Jones, Montgomery could be an asset in an offense that values short, quick passes.
Christian Gonzalez - The Rookie Cornerback Ready to Make an Impact
The excitement surrounding rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez is well-founded, as he brings a combination of size, speed, and athleticism to the Patriots' secondary. Drafted with the 17th overall pick in the first round, his potential to develop into a lockdown corner will be crucial in bolstering the team's pass defense.
Gonzalez racked up 50 total tackles for Oregon last year and was named to the Pac-12 Conference first team. Keep an eye on Gonzalez as he adjusts to the NFL and potentially becomes a key contributor to the Patriots' success.
Other Notable Mentions
Aside from the players mentioned above, there are a few other players on the Patriots roster that are worth keeping an eye on in 2023. These players have the potential to make a major impact on the team and could be key pieces for the Patriots in the coming season.
The Patriots made a significant addition to their wide receiver corps in the offseason, signing former Steelers and Chiefs star JuJu Smith-Schuster. They are also currently in negotiations with DeAndre Hopkins, a move that would significantly boost their receiving talent. Smith-Schuster is expected to play a huge role in the upcoming season and, if paired with Hopkins, could stand out as the best 1-2 receiving combo in the NFL.
The team also has depth with Kendrick Bourne, who is focused on having a bounce-back season after a disappointing 2022 campaign. Devanta Parker, Lynn Bowden, and Demario Douglas are also expected to contribute.
The Patriots will definitely utilize tight ends Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry in their offense in 2023. Gesicki, who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins, is expected to bring a new element to the team's passing attack. Henry struggled by his own standards in 2022, but the Patriots value him as both a player and a leader in the locker room. The team is not expected to release him and will look to new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to maximize his pass-catching ability.
Defensive tackle Christian Barmore is a potential breakout candidate for the Patriots in 2023. Barmore was a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and showed flashes of his potential during his rookie season. He is seeking to make a larger impact in his second year and become a key player on the Patriots' defense.
The 2023 NFL season holds much promise for the Patriots, with these five under-the-radar players poised to make a meaningful impact. As the team looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 campaign, fans can find solace in the wealth of talent waiting to break out. Keep an eye on these players as they contribute to the Patriots' success and provide valuable NFL information for fans and analysts alike.