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NFL draft recap: Check out the Patriots’ 2020 draft class

Welcome to New England!

Reese’s Senior Bowl Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL draft is over, at least from the New England Patriots’ perspective: the team added five players on Day Three to the five that were already picked heading into Saturday. With that said, let’s meet the newest members of the team:

2-37 S Kyle Dugger: After trading out of Round One on Thursday, the Patriots’ first selection of the draft came in the early second round. Once at the clock at No. 37, New England added one of the most athletically impressive safeties in the draft: Kyle Dugger. The Lenoir-Rhyne product will join a position group that is among the best in football but getting up there in age with Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung both turning 33 in August. Dugger has the combination of size and explosiveness to serve in a safety/linebacker hybrid role and potentially take over for Chung further down the line.

2-60 LB Josh Uche: The Patriots, who entered Day Two with a league-high 13 selections still in the fold, used two of them to move up to the 60th overall spot and select Josh Uche out of Michigan. Uche still has room for growth entering the next level and is a bit raw around the edges, but has the athletic upside and versatile skillset to develop into an impactful member of New England’s outside linebacker rotation alongside his former college teammate Chase Winovich.

3-87 LB Anfernee Jennings: With Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins both leaving New England in free agency, the Patriots opted to double-dip at the position: after already adding Uche in the second round, they picked Alabama’s Anfernee Jennings in the third. Offering some strong fundamentals, the 22-year-old should be able to see considerable snaps in New England’s defense from Day one on.

3-91 TE Devin Asiasi: New England’s tight end group struggled mightily in 2019, prompting the team to invest two picks in the third round. The first, following another trade up the board, went to UCLA’s Devin Asiasi. A true all-around tight end that can function as both an in-line blocker and a flexed-out pass catcher, Asiasi has the tools to become a true TE1 in the Patriots’ offense and an immediate upgrade over the team’s current personnel at the position.

3-101 TE Dalton Keene: The second tight end drafted by the Patriots in the third round offers a different skillset than the first: whereas Asiasi is an all-around option, Dalton Keene is more of a move tight end/H-back type whose versatile skillset makes him a chess piece for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to work with. While he still has considerable room for growth, his upside is enticing.

5-159 K Justin Rohrwasser: New England entered the draft without a place kicker on its roster after the release of Stephen Gostkowski, so seeing the team address the position on Day Three did not come as a surprise. What may have been surprising is that Marshall’s Justin Rohrwasser was the choice over other options with supposedly higher profiles. That said, Rohrwasser offers a strong leg and is coming off the best season of his college career.

6-182 G Michael Onwenu: While Onwenu’s frame — he was measured at 6-foot-2 1/2, 344 pounds at the scouting combine — stands out, he also has the play strength to go along with it: the Michigan product is impressive at the point of attack and brings a physical edge to the position. His overall athleticism may not be impressive, but he has some tools to work with and compete for a backup spot along New England’s interior offensive line.

6-195 G Justin Herron: Just like they did at edge linebacker and tight end, the Patriots also decided to double-dip at the guard spot. That said, Herron will have to adapt to playing the position at the next level after serving as Wake Forest’s starting left tackle throughout his four-year college career. Due to his quickness, however, he does project more favorably on the interior and will compete against Onwenu for a reserve spot behind projected starting centers Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason.

6-204 LB Cassh Maluia: If Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings will help the Patriots replace what Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins brought to the table, Cassh Maluia could fill the void created by the departure of Elandon Roberts. While slightly undersized by New England’s standards at the position — he was measured at 248 pounds at the combine but only 6-foot-0 — the Wyoming product has proven himself a capable downfield attacker.

7-230 C Dustin Woodard: The third interior offensive lineman drafted by the Patriots on Day Three, Dustin Woodard gives the Patriots an emergency option behind David Andrews. While he is somewhat undersized at 6-foot-1, 295 pounds, his experience — he started 52 games during his career at Memphis — could help him earn a depth spot on the roster or at least the practice squad.


How would you grade the Patriots’ 2020 draft class?

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