The New England Patriots have a clear and obvious need for offensive tackles and may need a new free safety if Devin McCourty chooses to retire.
ESPN’s Matt Bowen spotlighted two upcoming free agents who could fill those voids.
Bowen posted a rundown on Tuesday of which teams would be the best for the top 50 players entering free agency on March 15. He linked two to the Patriots: Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor and Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer.
Taylor is ESPN’s 15th free agent. Poyer, a longtime Patriots rival who has spent his entire career in Buffalo, ranks 23rd. Both are the third-ranked players in their respective positions, with Taylor trailing Kansas City’s Orlando Brown Jr. and San Francisco’s Mike McGlinchey and Poyer behind Cincinnati’s Jessie Bates III and Philadelphia’s CJ Gardner-Johnson.
Here are Bowen’s comments on both:
Jawan TaylorThe Jags could use the franchise tag to keep Taylor in Jacksonville, but he can also fill a great need for Bill O’Brien’s offense in New England, slotting into the right tackle position where Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon are both headed to free will. Taylor has the swing traits at 6-foot-5, 312 pounds to mirror the speed and can handle power rushers. And at just 25, even Taylor has room to grow. The Patriots would have had to spend some money to sign Taylor to a multi-year contract. Last season, New England allowed 41 sacks (15th) and quarterback Mac Jones struggled when he came under pressure, posting a career-high 4.1 QBR in those situations.
Jordan PoyerHere’s a fun one. Poyer’s multidimensional traits fit Bill Belichick’s pattern as a mobile defensive player with deep reach. Veteran security Devin McCourty is set to strike free will, so there’s a need here. A highly instinctive defender, Poyer could match in coverage, control tight ends, or track the ball from post/halffield lineups in New England. And he can play multiple roles in Belichick’s subpacks. Last season, Poyer recorded four interceptions and eight pass breakups for the Bills.