FOXBORO (CBS) -- The Patriots are still searching for a top corner to take over for J.C. Jackson. Given the quarterbacks New England is set to face in 2022, that position should be of the utmost importance the rest of the offseason.
The list of opposing quarterbacks whom the Patriots will face next season just keeps getting better -- or worse, depending on how you look at it. The Indianapolis Colts trading for Matt Ryan adds a third former MVP to the list, which also includes All-Pros and Pro Bowlers galore.
The schedule is still TBD, but here are the quarterbacks that the Patriots defense will have to contend with in 2022:
Ravens: Lamar Jackson (2019 MVP and All-Pro, 2-time Pro Bowler)
Colts: Matt Ryan (2016 MVP and All-Pro, 4-time Pro Bowler)
Bills: Josh Allen
Bengals: Joe Burrow
Packers: Aaron Rodgers (4-time MVP, 4-time All-Pro, 10-time Pro Bowler)
Cardinals: Kyler Murray (2019 Rookie of the Year, 2-time Pro Bowler)
Browns: Deshaun Watson (3-time Pro Bowler)
Raiders: Derek Carr (3-time Pro Bowler, now with Davante Adams in his arsenal)
Vikings: Kirk Cousins (3-time Pro Bowler)
Bills: Josh Allen
There is no Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert on the schedule, but even the guys who haven't won an All-Pro or made a Pro Bowl -- Allen and Burrow -- are pretty darn good. And they'll be collecting those accolades soon enough.
We all know what Allen is capable of doing against the New England defense, so long as it's not a blustery night, and Burrow is ready to take his spot near the top of the QB mantle after leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in just his second NFL season. Those are going to be three difficult Sundays (or a Monday) for the Patriots.
At least there are still two matchups with the Jets (Zach Wilson in his second season) and a home date with the Lions (Jared Goff). The Steelers are also on the schedule, and at the moment they'll be turning to Mitch Trubisky under center.
But New England's two days against Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are always a toss-up, and more times than not, the Patriots will be squaring off with a quarterback who knows how to get their team downfield in 2022. It's not the QB gauntlet that Bill Belichick and Co. had to deal with in 2014 -- when they squared off with Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Rodgers and Phillip Rivers over a six-week stretch -- but the 2022 collection of QBs they'll face will be fairly daunting.
Mac Jones better be ready to let it fly in his second season. And chances are the Patriots will be playing a lot of catch-up next season, with an offense that may not be able to mount comebacks on the regular. And while the defense was a powerful force for most of the 2021 season, they weren't as stellar when a good quarterback was on the other side of the field.
Losing Jonathan Jones to an injury didn't help the defense's cause to close out last season, and his return should help the secondary in 2022. The Patriots could still find a pretty solid corner in the bargain bin of free agency, and may potentially snag a star of the future in the NFL Draft. Or, as they've been fairly successful at, New England could find an undrafted corner to rise up the depth chart and become that No. 1 guy.
But that latter route won't help in 2022, when the Patriots are going to need everything they've got when they take on the quality quarterbacks of the NFL.
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