The 2019 NFL draft is over, and the third and final day saw the New England Patriots invest in five players: offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, defensive edge Byron Cowart, punter Jake Bailey and cornerback Ken Webster will all wear a Patriots uniform this season (at least through training camp). Let’s find out how their additions impact the players already on New England’s roster.
Winner: The entire tight end depth chart
Heading into the draft and after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, tight end was seen as the Patriots’ top need. But even on day three of the draft, the club did not add to the position via a pick or trade. While a lot will still change between now and the start of the regular season, the draft certainly was a good one from the perspectives of Matt LaCosse, Jacob Hollister, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ryan Izzo and Stephen Anderson: they did not see a challenger enter the ring via a draft pick.
Loser: OG Ted Karras
The fourth-round pick of Hjalte Froholdt adds depth and long-term insurance to the Patriots’ interior offensive line. Good news for the team, potentially bad news for Ted Karras: the veteran served as New England’s top interior backup for the last three seasons, but could be in jeopardy of losing his spot on the roster to the high-upside Arkansas product. And even though the Patriots ended last season with two interior backups on the active team, this is no guarantee Karras makes the cut in 2019.
Loser: CB Keion Crossen
One year after investing in an athletic, developmental cornerback in the seventh round, the Patriots did the same by drafting Ken Webster on Saturday. Now, the incoming rookie will challenge second-year man Keion Crossen for a spot on the team — and like the incumbent he will likely have to make it through special teams. Crossen’s standing on the team, meanwhile, was already somewhat uncertain due to the second-round investment in cornerback Joejuan Williams; Webster is another player he will have to stand his ground against.
Loser: P Ryan Allen
Even though he is coming off an outstanding Super Bowl performance, the Patriots look to upgrade Ryan Allen’s punter job for the second straight year: undrafted free agent Corey Bojorquez failed to unseat him in 2018, now fifth-round rookie Jake Bailey will try. The message is clear that the serviceable but statistically average Allen, who was only re-signed on a one-year deal in free agency, needs to step up his game.
Winners: WR Braxton Berrios & WR Bruce Ellington
New England addressed its need at wide receiver when it chose N’Keal Harry in the first round. But even though club still remained in the market for more depth at the position, it did not add a developmental interior/slot option on days two or three. This is especially good news for Braxton Berrios and Bruce Ellington: both players are on the roster bubble but with the exception of undrafted rookie Ryan Davis did not see any extra competition brought in through the draft.
Loser: QB Danny Etling
With the Patriots drafting Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round, the writing is on the wall for Danny Etling: unless New England keeps four quarterbacks on its active team or moves on from veteran Brian Hoyer he will again not find his way onto the 53-man roster. Beating out Hoyer actually appears to be his best bet, and with one year of experience under his belt it would not be all that big of a surprise if he succeeded. The odds are still against him, though, even more so after Stidham’s selection.
Loser: DE Derek Rivers
Derek Rivers already was listed as a loser yesterday due to New England picking Chase Winovich in round three. Sunday’s selection of versatile but raw Byron Cowart adds further competition to the position group — and more pressure on Rivers, who has shown little over the first two years of his career. The former third-round draft pick finally needs to live up to the potential he showed early in 2017 to make the team.
How would you grade the Patriots’ 2019 draft class?
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