With their tenth and final selection in the 2019 NFL draft, the New England Patriots decided to draft Mississippi cornerback Ken Webster. Let’s take a closer look at the 252nd pick to find out why the club opted to invest in him.
Webster is an excellent athlete
Webster’s athleticism is what makes him an intriguing player in the seventh round — and it was on full display during the NFL scouting combine: he led all cornerbacks in the vertical jump (43”), ranked third in the broad jump (133”) and was above the average in the other on-field testing categories as well. In general, his athletic skillset allows him to mask up some of his deficiencies when it comes to play recognition and decision making on defense.
He can contribute in the kicking game right away
While his defensive contributions will largely be dependent on coaching and added experience, Webster will likely be able to perform on special teams from the get-go — similar to the route last year’s late-round cornerback selection Keion Crossen took. Like Crossen, Webster will need to make the roster through the game’s third phase considering how deep New England’s roster is at the cornerback position.
Luckily for the Mississippi product, his athletic profile should translate well to the NFL’s kicking game: Webster has very good straight-line speed, adequate short-area quickness and terrific tackling skills. As a result, he should be able to carve out a role on the Patriots’ coverage units quickly during training camp and the preseason.
New England didn’t want him to hit free agency
The late seventh round is basically the NFL’s chance to secure priority free agents, and it looks as if the Patriots deemed Webster as such. Obviously, New England did not want him to hit the open market and compete for his services. Therefore, the club decided to invest its final draft choice in him.
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