(WEEI) - The Patriots won Super Bowl LIII just a few months ago and collected the requisite championship jewelry to celebrate that title earlier this month.
But there has been some pretty significant movement – mostly departures – on the New England roster since the team collected its sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski retired. Young defensive end stud Trey Flowers signed a $90 million contract with the Lions. Massive left tackle Trent Brown joined the Raiders for $60 million. Josh Gordon remains suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Even key complementary cogs like receivers Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson have moved on.
But the popular website Pro Football Focus – a polarizing media entity with loyal supporters and vocal critics – recently ranked all 32 NFL rosters heading into 2019 and put Bill Belichick’s current Patriots at the No. 1 spot. (The story ran on ESPN.com’s Insider page.)
Slotting New England one spot ahead of its Super Bowl LIII foe, the Rams, PFF lists quarterback Tom Brady as the Patriots biggest roster strength. On the other end of the spectrum, despite the trade for Michael Bennett, the defensive edge is listed as the biggest weakness, even given all the questions at both tight end and wide receiver. PFF also lists third-year defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. as New England’s “X factor” for 2019.