The Patriots added a mere four draft picks, tied for the second-fewest by a team since 2000, but their impact should be felt across the roster. Here are the implications of the 2017 NFL Draft on the rest of the Patriots roster.
Winner: QB Tom Brady
Brady received some help in the pre-draft process when the team shipped draft picks for veterans like WR Brandin Cooks and TE Dwayne Allen, and got more help when the team invested in a pair of offensive linemen in OT Antonio Garcia and OT Conor McDermott.
The Patriots have seen the error in their ways when they failed to adequately supply the line and won’t be caught without competent offensive linemen throughout the depth chart. Brady will be the primary beneficiary.
Loser: OT LaAdrian Waddle
The fallout of adding both Garcia and McDermott is that the team will likely move on from fourth-string offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle. Waddle was a good tackle with the Detroit Lions early in his career, but saw a decline with a series of injuries.
In 2016, Cameron Fleming surpassed Waddle in the depth chart and didn’t look back. Don’t be surprised if both Garcia and McDermott pass Waddle, too.
Winner: IOL Ted Karras
The Patriots had a quiet need on the interior line with Karras as the top back-up for three young players in Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason. The fact that the team didn’t invest a draft pick in an interior lineman should boost the stock of Karras as a sign of support for his abilities.
Losers: TE Matt Lengel and TE Michael Williams
The Patriots also needed some help at tight end and acquired TE James O’Shaughnessy from the Kansas City Chiefs. O’Shaughnessy is far from a roster lock, but he adds to the tight end competition in ways that didn’t happen with Karras and the interior offensive line.
Lengel isn’t the most dynamic player and Williams can’t catch, so O’Shaughnessy’s ability to catch and play special teams could give him the edge to make the roster.
Winners: LB Kyle Van Noy and LB Elandon Roberts
The Patriots also could have added some talent to the linebacker position, but the team stayed pat with the current line-up. Van Noy and Roberts were two of the top players down the stretch and it would seem the Patriots are curious to see how Van Noy can perform with an offseason in the system and whether Roberts can make a sophomore jump.
Loser: EDGE Geneo Grissom
Grissom was a special teams player for the Patriots in 2016, but his role on the team is now in jeopardy with the selections of both Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise Jr. The Patriots can carry five edge defenders, but Grissom would be on the outside looking in. The best chance for Grissom to make the team might be to change positions as an interior pass rusher at defensive tackle or as a linebacker.
Winner: S Jordan Richards
Richards was a second round pick in 2015 and hasn’t lived up to his draft status. With Patrick Chung aging and Richards not contributing, the Patriots could have added another strong safety in the draft. However, there was a run at the position at the end of the second round and before the Patriots had a chance to make a pick.afety in the draft.
Richards will retain his top back-up role heading into 2017 and he’ll have another chance to prove his value to the team.