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Pro Football Focus calls a rookie the Patriots’ "secret weapon"

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The analytics website loves the 23-year old.

New England Patriots vs New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have made a league-low four selections during the 2017 NFL draft. Of those four selections, three are currently not on the team's active roster: Third round picks Derek Rivers and Antonio Garcia will spend the rest of the year on injured reserve and the non-football injury list, respectively, while sixth-rounder Conor McDermott is now with the Buffalo Bills.

And while the team does have a total of five rookies on its current 53-man roster, only one of them was drafted: defensive edge Deatrich Wise Jr., who was chosen by the Patriots in the fourth round. So far, the 131st overall selection has proven himself a valuable addition to the team – and analytics website Pro Football Focus, in an ESPN Insider story, appears to agree:

The Patriots might have finally found a high-impact edge rusher in Wise. The rookie fourth-round pick out of Arkansas has two sacks, six hits and five additional hurries through three games and added a batted pass against Houston last week. His overall PFF grade is 84.2, and his pass-rushing grade of 84.7 is the 10th-best mark among edge rushers through the first three weeks of the season.

While the paragraph quoted glosses over the fact that New England already had a “high-impact edge rusher” on its roster when Wise Jr. was added – fellow Arkansas product Trey Flowers –, the rookie's first few games cannot be underestimated. As noted by Pro Football Focus and reflected by the statistics, Wise Jr. has been a disruptive player along the Patriots' defensive line all year long.

And even though the defense as a whole has yet to live up to its potential, the 23-year old has been a bright spot so far.