The 2019 NFL draft is officially over! 254 players heard their name called, from first overall selection Kyler Murray to Mr. Irrelevant, Caleb Wilson — ten of them were picked by the New England Patriots. Let’s take a look at the newest members of the team:
1-32 WR N’Keal Harry: With the 32nd overall selection, the Patriots addressed arguably their biggest need entering the draft: they added considerable receiving talent by picking Arizona State wideout N’Keal Harry. Projected to serve as an X-receiver at the next level, his size and athletic skills help make up for some of his minor shortcomings — and turned Harry from a productive college receiver to a first-round draft pick.
2-45 CB Joejuan Williams: New England moved up in the second round to pick Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams with the 45th overall selection. A physical cornerback, the 21-year-old could turn out to be a versatile defensive back for the Patriots — one capable of covering wide receivers on the perimeter and tight ends in the middle of the field.
3-77 DE Chase Winovich: While Chase Winovich is not the most explosive of athletes, he wins because of his solid overall technique and consistently running motor. In New England, the Michigan product will compete for playing time behind expected starting defensive edges Michael Bennett, Deatrich Wise Jr. and John Simon.
3-87 RB Damien Harris: A team captain and second-team All-SEC selection in 2018, Alabama’s Damien Harris will likely serve as the top early-down and short yardage running back option alongside Sony Michel. A very good pass blocker, he lacks the burst to be a true bell cow runner, but should become a serviceable rotational option.
3-101 OT Yodny Cajuste: A powerful run blocker, New England invested in West Virginia’s Yodny Cajuste with their final day two pick. Cajuste is a developmental, high-upside option that gives the Patriots some flexibility at the offensive tackle position: he could serve as a backup swing tackle early on and possible move into a starting role further down the line.
4-118 OG Hjalte Froholdt: A very good pass protector with very good quickness measurements, the Denmark-born Hjalte Froholdt will compete with Ted Karras for the top interior backup spot in New England. Furthermore, the Arkansas product will also serve as long-term insurance in case Joe Thuney leaves the Patriots via free agency next year.
4-133 QB Jarrett Stidham: One of the best pure throwers in the draft, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham has the tools to become a starter in the NFL one day. While he needs the right offense and weapons around him to achieve success, he has landed in an ideal situation to further grow as a quarterback: Stidham will have time to sit and learn while working his way to the top backup spot behind Tom Brady.
5-159 DE Byron Cowart: A former five-star high school recruit, Cowart transferred from Auburn to Maryland in search of more consistent playing time: he found it and quickly became a starter at his new school. That being said, he might have benefitted from staying in school a year longer as his technique remains a work in progress — something he will need to quickly work on if he wants to make the Patriots’ deep defensive line roster.
5-163 P Jake Bailey: For the second straight year, New England will see a punting competition in training camp: with the selection of Stanford product Jake Bailey in the fifth round, the Patriots put pressure on incumbent Ryan Allen. Bailey, a strong-legged and versatile punter, will try to do what Corey Bojorquez failed: unseat the three-time Super Bowl winner.
7-252 CB Caleb Wilson: With the 252nd overall pick, New England decided to invest in a de facto priority free agent: Ole Miss cornerback Ken Webster, a developmental defensive back who needs to improve his feel for the game but has some foundational skills in place.
How would you grade the Patriots’ 2019 draft class?
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