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Although the Patriots are 4-6, and a playoff birth is highly unlikely, this team still has hope for a bright future. The lack of depth at many positions has allowed many young guys to obtain in-game experience when they wouldn’t get it any other year. Therefore, some of the Patriots’ young players are showing flashes of potential to be solid players or even stars in the near future.

Starting out at the running back position, Damien Harris has looked promising running the football the past several weeks. Since missing the first 3 weeks of the season, Harris has had 3 games of 100 yards rushing or greater. To this point, he has rushed for 514 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite missing 4 games, Harris may be able to break 1,000 rush yards by the end of the season.

Rookie offensive guard, Mike Onwenu, has shown off his blocking skills this season. The versatile lineman has seen action in both guard spots and has recently played at right tackle. Onwenu has also been named to Pro Football Focus’ Midseason All-Pro team. His talent should be enough to fill Joe Thuney’s hole in the o-line next season if Thuney leaves the team this offseason.

In the Patriots’ secondary, 2nd-round safety, Kyle Dugger, is on the cusp of a breakout game. Versus the Ravens, he totaled a career-high 12 tackles. The Lenior-Rhyne prospect is known as a hard hitter and possesses the speed and strength to be successful. If he develops his coverage skills, he’s going to be a standout player for years to come.

To finish this list off is 2nd-year defensive end Chase Winovich. He has totaled 30 tackles, 6 QB hits, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble this season. Overall, he’s been on and off but has shown glimpses of talent throughout his playing time. He definitely has shown potential and improvement from his rookie year.

Having a surplus of money this coming offseason will allow New England to add talent both in free agency and through the draft. This team is only a few pieces away from returning to the playoff contenders they’re used to being.