Entering the second day of the 2020 NFL draft with five scheduled selections, and a league-high 13 total still in the fold, the New England Patriots were quite busy during Friday’s second and third rounds. Bill Belichick and company did make a series of aggressive moves — including trading up three times — and when the dust had settled came away with a total of five players who will all find themselves on the roster come the regular season.
Let’s meet the five newest Patriots:
- S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
- LB Josh Uche, Michigan
- LB Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
- TE Devin Asiasi, UCLA
- TE Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
With that said, let’s take a closer look at how the second day of the draft unfolded from New England’s perspective.
Patriots draft S Kyle Dugger: 2-37
Following Thursday’s trade out of the first round, New England held the fifth selection on Day Two and used it to invest in one of the better safety prospects still available. Dugger, who spent his college career at Division II’s Lenoir-Rhyne, offers an intriguing athletic profile that should help him carve out a considerable role on defense and in the kicking game right away. Further down the line, the projected box safety should be able to take over the safety/linebacker-hybrid spot from veteran Patrick Chung.
Patriots trade up, draft LB Josh Uche: 2-60
Trade: New England gets 2-60 and 4-129; Baltimore gets 3-71 and 3-98
After going defense earlier in the round, the Patriots packaged two selections in order to move from the 77th to the 60th overall pick and add another high-upside piece to the unit: New England picked linebacker John Uche out of Michigan to help bolster a unit that saw the free agency departures of both Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins Sr. over the course of the offseason. Given his versatile skillset, Uche could be used in numerous spots all over the formation and therefore help fill the move role played by Collins (and team captain Dont’a Hightower) in 2019.
Patriots draft LB Anfernee Jennings: 3-87
The Patriots’ lone remaining originally assigned draft pick this year was invested in another front-seven defender to bolster the depth of a post-Van Noy and post-Collins linebacker group. As opposed to Uche, Jennings projects to be more of a traditional edge player at the next level who should be inserted into the Patriots’ rotation alongside Chase Winovich and veteran John Simon fairly early in his career. Whereas Uche’s skillset is more Jamie Collins, Jennings’ is more Kyle Van Noy: he could see considerable snaps as a strong-side linebacker.
Patriots trade up, draft TE Devin Asiasi: 3-91
Trade: New England gets 3-91 and 5-159; Las Vegas gets 3-100, 4-139 and 5-172
While New England addressed the defensive side of the ball with its first three picks, the team manufactured another move up the board in the late third round to select Devin Asiasi with the 91st overall selection. The UCLA product projects favorably as an all-around tight end at the next level, and should therefore be expected to be used as both an in-line blocker and a capable option in the downfield passing game as well. Asiasi might be able to carve out the TE1 role as soon as his rookie season.
Patriots trade up, draft TE Dalton Keene: 3-101
Trade: New England gets: 3-101; New York gets: 4-125, 4-129 and 2021 6th-round pick
Shortly after bringing in Asiasi, New England again traded up with the intention of adding another tight end to what has been arguably the team’s weakest position group in 2019. Dalton Keene may not offer as complete a skillset as his new teammate, but he does bring an element of versatility to the table: the Virginia Tech product can serve as a flex/move tight end and an H-back-type option out of the backfield as well. In short, he could become a dynamic playmaker for the Patriots’ passing offense.