The New England Patriots opened up the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by selecting Arkansas offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt with the 118th overall pick. Froholdt is a three-year starter for the Razorbacks, starting at left guard as a sophomore and junior and as a center as a senior.
Froholdt’s versatility is definitely a draw for the Patriots, but that’s not the only reason why the Patriots selected him. Here’s why the Patriots drafted Hjalte Froholdt.
Interior lineman will be a need in 2020
The Patriots have the best interior line in the NFL with Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason. The latter two are under contract through the 2020 and 2023 seasons, respectively, but Thuney will be a free agent after this upcoming season, as will top back-up Ted Karras.
Thuney is positioned to land a huge contract in free agency and now the Patriots are prepared for his departure- and gives them additional leverage in negotiations for an extension.
Hjalte Froholdt has a ton of upside
Much like Yodny Cajuste in the third round, Froholdt has a ton of upside. Despite not playing football until his sophomore year of high school, Froholdt quickly emerged in a tough SEC and because the best interior lineman in the conference according to Pro Football Focus. We know how much Bill Belichick loves his SEC players.
Froholdt hasn’t allowed a sack in the past two years and he’s already a strong player, despite not having a lot of polish at the position. The best offensive linemen prospects are the ones that can win in college without looking polished- just like Shaq Mason- and Froholdt fits that mold. He should continue to improve under the guidance of offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
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