At 182, the Patriots went with a big and beefy guard in Michael Onwenu. 13 picks later, they draft a player at the same position who couldn’t be any more different in Justin Herron. Herron is more noted for his athleticism to climb into the second level and ability to mirror rushers whereas Onwenu is more about power and strength. Play strength is an issue for Herron, as he’ll need time in the weight room to add muscle and strength to his frame.
As a rookie, he’ll compete with Onwenu, Jermaine Eluemunor, and Hjalte Froholdt for backup guard spots. Herron profiles more like what the Patriots prefer with interior linemen than Onwenu, so the contrasting styles will be an interesting camp battle to say the least. If he can make the roster out of the preseason or end up on the practice squad, Herron could be an intriguing development option at guard since his issues are mostly strength-related.
I believe the potential upside with Herron is worth investing in as a backup guard who in the right system could develop into a middle of the road starter at left guard. The Patriots will need to improve his technique and hand usage at the line of scrimmage, but could eventually make him a capable blocker as a puller and climbing to the second level off combo blocks on zone runs.
How would you grade the Patriots drafting Justin Herron?
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