Patriots

Bedard: Ranking the AFC East (Offense) – Patriots, Bills close but more depth needed in New England

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There has been and will be a lot of talk about how the Patriots stack up with the rest of the AFC East after the departure of Tom Brady. We decided to see exactly where the Patriots stand on offense and defense (since the Patriots don't have a kicker, special teams is kind of moot) heading into the draft. We mixed together opinions from personnel executives and coaches, along with our own data and analysis.

It's a good exercise to see where the Patriots do stand and where they can improve. It becomes pretty glaring where they need upgrades out of this draft.

The good news? The Patriots still have far and away the best top-end talent on offense, with six first-place votes — including two elite players at their spot relative to the rest of the division (LG Joe Thuney, 3rd down back James White). That's a good step up from the Bills (4 firsts, one elite — Stefon Diggs).

It's also good news that, despite Brady's exit and the resulting drop from the best QB situation in the AFC East to the worst (Jarrett Stidham is the lone player with no track record — it has to be that way for now), the Patriots are still very close to the Bills.

The bad news? The Bills top out our current offensive rankings with 41 total points and an average of 3.2 per position. The Patriots are a very close second with 39 total points and a 3.0 average. Then there's a big drop to the Dolphins and Jets

But it shows how close things are, and how the Patriots can easily take a leap depending on Stidham — or whoever is the eventual starting quarterback. And, also, if the Patriots get a lot more out of N'Keal Harry and the tight end position.

A look at the offensive rankings, and some thoughts on the position: