2019 IDP Projections: New England Patriots

Tom Kislingbury

As per last year, I’ll be sharing projections for every team in the NFL. I use past production in specific roles for each team’s scheme to work out realistic production profiles. You can see how accurate I was in 2018 in my IDP Projection Marking series.

Coming off yet another title, the Patriots will again be looking to not rest on their laurels and upgrade their defense. Losing Trey Flowers was a big blow, but we should expect another good unit for 2019.

Defensive tackle

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There is good talent and depth here but you should avoid expecting any one player to stand out as a star. Lawrence Guy probably has the best chance in leagues that reward DT tackles heavily but this is probably a group to avoid.

Defensive end

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Michael Bennett has been treated a little like an afterthought which is immensely unfair. He’s recorded over 70 pressures in six of the last seven seasons and remains a very good player. People trying to sound clever still talk about him “kicking inside on passing downs” but that was always overplayed and in 2018 he was used almost exclusively on the edge. He should slide straight into Trey Flowers’ role and impress as a Patriot.

Behind him, Deatrich Wise is effective but frustrating whilst Chase Winovich is probably going to need some time to secure enough playing time to be a good IDP. Expect him to flash as a rookie but not be startable.

Derek Rivers is probably not worth holding onto at this stage. He was handed under 100 snaps last year and looked poor.


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This all comes down to how the players are used. There’s really only one efficient LB role on this defense and it’s the inside one. Ja’Whaun Bentley could well own that job, but Kyle Van Noy has been very effective playing it too – and is more flexible offering the team more options. Bentley is not guaranteed a full-time role.

Dont’a Hightower has been a great servant but is visibly slowing. He’s not a viable option in most leagues.


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Stephon Gilmore was absolutely brilliant in 2018 and hopefully can repeat. In leagues that reward PDs sufficiently (you should upgrade them in your league), he’s a very good option.

Jason McCourty is likely the number two outside corner but that will likely change several times in-season. The Patriots are very flexible with corner depth charts and have a deep roster at the position.


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The Patriots just don’t use a designated strong safety. Patrick Chung is the closest thing to it but spends a lot of time in the slot – specifically on tight ends and physical receivers. His tackle efficiency is therefore poor.

Devin McCourty will likely again be a full-time player, but he plays pretty deep which doesn’t help. And lastly, Duron Harmon plays only in sub-packages and is a specialist deep safety. You can do better than him.

Stud – Michael Bennett

Lots of people will think I’m mad for having him as a top ten edge. But he’s a really good player still on a team who will be rushing the passer a lot. I can’t wait to see him in action.

Disappointment – Kyle Van Noy

Last season, Van Noy played the middle LB role most of the year after Bentley’s injury. When everyone is fit, the Pats like Van Noy to play more on the edge. He’s a major banana skin for your team.

Darkhorse – Chase Winovich

It’s smart to be cautious about third-round rookies but Winovich is a bundle of talent wrapped up in attitude and energy. He’s certainly going to have some high points.


The Pats play a decent amount of defense and they rush the passer a lot. The LB usage is very unusual (and actually harder to predict than their running backs) but there’s likely to be one useful player here.

Don’t think Bentley is some kind of under-the-radar player though. Everyone has the same high hopes for him.

Thanks for reading.

tom kislingbury