New England Patriots
Chase Winovich just looks like a Patriot already. What themes should we keep tabs on as the New England Patriots open up training camp? (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

It’s time to review the world champs. The New England Patriots head into another season as defending champs. Can’t remember the last time that happened? Anyway, while media members try to predict the end of the Pats, it feels more important to review the 2019 Patriots as they open up camp. What are the themes heading into this season?

3 Position Battles To Watch:

Tight End: Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Ben Watson

This is a barren wasteland. I know the Patriots find a way to win regardless but this is concerning. No Gronk and the replacements are nothing more than bodies. Spare part is a term that doesn’t even feel accurate. It’s somehow worse than that. Ben Watson is 1,000 years old and suspended for the first 4 games. I don’t even know what the Pats are going to do here.

Left Tackle: Isaiah Wynn, Yodney Cajuste

Isaiah Wynn is a former first round pick but spent the 2018 season on IR with a torn Achilles. Yodney Cajuste comes to town as a mid-round draft pick. Wynn is probably the favorite but maybe he needs more time to recover. He also played a ton guard at Georgia and may be better suited to slide inside. Also, does it really matter? I truly can’t remember a time where Tom Brady had a bad offensive line.

Defensive End: Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers, Dietrich Wise, John Simon

Michael Bennett replaces Trey Flowers so put a check mark there. The problem is the other side has never been fixed. Dietrich Wise and Chase Winovich both will get ample opportunities. Winovich is a high energy guy and had solid production at Michigan. Dietrich Wise is more of a bigger body but a good player. Derek Rivers could be an X-Factor that needs to show something in year 2.

Ready To Breakout: Duke Dawson

Bill Belichick is a secondary guy at heart. I have to feel that he has a plan for Duke Dawson. Injuries derailed whatever plan that was as a rookie. Dawson played safety and corner at Florida which I’m sure Belichick loves. I have no idea what Dawson will do and that’s a good thing.

Rookie To Watch: N’Keal Harry

N’Keal Harry has a lot of pressure on him. Julian Edelman does his thing. Outside of that, this team is desperate for weapons. Harry should help in the red area. Still, separation is a question mark. Harry wins with size, strength, and can make a man miss after the catch. He also has good hands. Belichick must have saw something to pull the trigger in round 1. Harry better be ready to help right away because they need him.

Fantasy Sleeper: Damien Harris

I mentioned this in a previous fantasy article but it rings true. Having a Patriots running back on your roster is valuable. Picking the right one is the key. Harris has a chance to be that guy. He has touchdown hog potential. Remember that year LeGarrette Blount punched in 800 goal line touchdowns? Harris may be that guy this year. He’s also a pretty good player that should get his fair share of touches. Sony Michel has proven he isn’t always healthy either.