Day two of the 2018 NFL draft is in the books and it was a rather active one for the New England Patriots, even though the team made only one selection (to be fair, it also acquired offensive tackle Trent Brown via trade). After trading back twice in round two, the Patriots moved back up a few spots to invest in Florida cornerback Duke Dawson. Let's take a look who this addition impacts on New England's current roster.
Loser: CB Cyrus Jones & CB Jonathan Jones
The Patriots entered the second day of the draft relatively set at the cornerback position with Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe and Jason McCourty the projected starting three. Adding Dawson is therefore not expected to influence the top of the depth chart, but it very much impacts the bottom – most notably Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones. Both are coming off season-ending injury and will have to compete against roster-lock Dawson for practice time and ultimately among themselves for what is expected to be only one additional cornerback spot.
Winner: LB Elandon Roberts & LB Marquis Flowers
While linebacker was seen as one of the Patriots' biggest needs entering the draft, the team has yet to address it. This speaks for how New England views the position's depth: After missing out on tier-one options like Leighton Vander Esch and Rashaan Evans, the team obviously felt that no player in the second and third rounds was worth investing in. This bodes well for the backup off-the-ball linebackers currently on the roster as Elandon Roberts and Marquis Flowers (and possibly Nicholas Grigsby) will not have to face highly-drafted competition.
Loser: The linebacker depth
Roberts and Flowers not having to compete against high draft choices, however, is not necessarily ideal: Linebacker is still the biggest need on the Patriots' roster and whether or not a day three selection or undrafted rookie will make any difference is questionable. Day two, therefore, was not a good one for the linebacker depth as there is now a realistic chance that the team heads into the summer with Roberts and Flowers – both serviceable but certainly upgradable – as the top backup options at the position.
Winner: SS Jordan Richards
The second day saw many notable defenders slide down the board; among them two of the better tier-two safety prospects of his year's draft in Stanford's Justin Reid and Alabama's Ronnie Harrison. The two players were picked with the 68th and 93rd selections, respectively, and could certainly have been had by the Patriots if they had opted to invest. However, they did not, which in turn can be considered a win for New England's number four safety and roster bubble candidate Jordan Richards: Like Elandon Roberts and company, he will now not have to compete against a highly-selected rookie over the summer.