The New England Patriots will definitely be looking to return to this season’s Super Bowl and defend the title they won last season after defeating the Los Angeles Rams. Keeping quarterback Tom Brady healthy will be essential to their title quest. With that in mind, the Patriots added two players meant to add depth to their offensive line.
Korey Cunningham, Jermaine Eluemunor necessary additions
Preparations for the new season are over, and the first game is here. The Patriots have made efforts to bolster a depleted offensive line with the additions of offensive linemen Korey Cunningham and Jermaine Eluemunor, who are both young and have shown promise in their short NFL careers so far.
The Patriots are getting Cunningham from the Arizona Cardinals, and according to ESPN’s Field Yates, they will send the Cardinals a sixth-round draft pick. The offensive lineman took to Instagram to announce the move.
Cunningham’s impressive starts with the Cardinals
D.J. Humphries’ injury allowed Cunningham to rack up six starts for the Cardinals last season after coming in from Cincinnati as a seventh-round draft pick in 2018. The 24-year old, 6-foot-6, 305-pounder committed four penalties, allowed 14 hurries, two hits, and two sacks last season. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall grade of 60.4.
That was not the only new addition made. Jim McBride from The Boston Globe reported that the New England Patriots came to an agreement with the Baltimore Ravens for the acquisition of Jermaine Eluemunor, another offensive lineman.
Although Eluemunor began the spring as the Ravens’ preferred starter at left guard, a failed conditioning test at the start of training camp, in addition to injuries sustained, led him to fall out of favor.
A member of 2017’s PFWA All-Rookie team, Eluemunor’s entire NFL career came with the Ravens after he joined them from Texas A&M as a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. The 24-year old 6-foot-4, 335-pounder has made 17 appearances throughout his career, with three of them as a starter. His versatility allows him to play both at guard and tackle.
Why did the Patriots need OL help?
The Patriots’ new additions come shortly after the team announced that David Andrews would be out for a majority of the season due to blood clots in his lungs. The two additions are probably not coming in as starters, but Cunningham and Eluemunor will provide some much-needed depth for New England.
Cunningham will most likely act as the Patriot’s swing tackle, providing back up for Isaiah Wynn. Cunningham can also line up on the right side in case Marcus Cannon, New England’s current starting right tackle needs a breather.
Cunningham’s addition creates a complicated situation for Cole Croston and Dan Skipper, with the latter signing in January. Croston’s versatility gives him the advantage to make New England’s final 53-man roster for the upcoming season. Another player also hoping to make the cut for New England’s offensive line positions for the season will be Hjalte Froholdt.
With David Andrews out, Ted Karras will likely be a starter at the guard position. If that is the case, then Eluemunor will act as a backup for Karras.
New additions reinforce the offensive line
In addition to Cannon, Cunningham, and Wynn at tackle positions, the rest of New England’s offensive line will most likely be made up of Joe Thuney, Karras, and Shaq Mason at left, center, and right guard respectively.
Bill Belichick will be hoping the new additions will not only fit in seamlessly into his offensive line but will also add valuable contributions to his team’s efforts of making another appearance at this season’s Super Bowl. Will the new additions enable the Patriots to reap high rewards?