The NFL’s 2020 draft is officially in the books, but the team-building process is just getting started: over the next few days, teams will start filling out the rest of their 90-man offseason rosters with undrafted free agents and there are still plenty of quality players available. As a look at the consensus big board created by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan shows, some big names did not hear their names called over the draft’s seven rounds.
With that said, let’s go through the top of this year’s undrafted class considering that a few of those players could eventually find their way to the New England Patriots.
(original round projection in parenthesis)
Anthony Gordon, Washington State (6th); Steven Montez, Colorado (7th-UDFA)
New England has not invested in a quarterback during the draft, putting the team in the market for another body at the position — something pointed out by director of player personnel Nick Caserio on Friday. According to reports, the team will not look at one of the top-50 options but rather J’Mar Smith out of Louisiana Tech.
James Robinson, Illinois State (6th); JaMycal Hasty, Baylor (7th); Michael Warren II, Cincinnati (7th); Darius Anderson, TCU (7th); Javon Leake, Maryland (7th); J.J. Taylor, Arizona (7th); Rico Dowdle, South Carolina (7th-UDFA); Salvon Ahmed, Washington (7th-UDFA); Levante Bellamy, Western Michigan (7th-UDFA)
New England does not have a need at the running back spot considering that the team already had a deep roster at the position heading into the offseason. That said, developmental and high-upside options could always be added at the right price.
Quartney Davis, Texas A&M (5th); Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt (6th); Jeff Thomas, Miami (7th-UDFA); Binjimen Victor, Ohio State (7th-UDFA); Juwan Johnson, Oregon (7th-UDFA)
Despite this year’s wide receiver class being considered one of the deepest in recent memory, New England decided not to invest in a player. Instead, the team appears to be happy with the talent already under contract — and possibly the undrafted rookie market as well.
Hunter Bryant, Washington (3rd); Thaddeus Moss, LSU (4th); Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt (5th); Jacob Breeland, Oregon (6th); Cheyenne O’Grady, Arkansas (6th); Charlie Taumoepeau, Portland State (7th)
New England double-dipped at the tight end position in the draft, by picking Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round. The team could still add more developmental depth and upside, with the undrafted class featuring some potential targets. The biggest names on the list, however, have reportedly already found new homes: Hunter Bryant is expected to join the Detroit Lions; Thaddeus Moss is expected to join the Washington Redskins.
Trey Adams, Washington (5th); Alex Taylor, South Carolina State (5th); Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon (7th); Terence Steele, Texas Tech (7th); Yasir Durant, Missouri (7th)
New England’s offensive tackle position is well set, and the team not investing a draft pick could be seen as a good sign about the long-term outlook surrounding Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon and Yodny Cajuste. That said, there are some intriguing options available in free agency.
Darryl Williams, Mississippi State (6th)
New England added three interior offensive linemen on Day Three of the draft, despite David Andrews being cleared to return to the field and Joe Thuney under contract via the franchise tag. Given the depth at the position it would not be a surprise if the Patriots were not prioritizing centers and guards in free agency.
Raequan Williams, Michigan State (5th); Nick Coe, Auburn (6th); Benito Jones, Mississippi (6th); Malcolm Roach, Texas (7th-UDFA)
The Patriots do not have a direct need for the 2020 season at defensive tackle, and did not draft one. With both Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler headed for unrestricted free agency next year, however, a free agency signing could be brought aboard to be groomed like Butler was from 2017 on.
Oluwole Betiku Jr, Illinois (7th-UDFA); Trevon Hill, Miami (7th-UDFA); Tipa Galeai, Utah State (7th-UDFA)
The Day Two investments made in Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings addressed the depth at the defensive edge and makes signing a free agent more of a luxury than a need. Of course, you can never have enough depth.
Joe Bachie, Michigan State (5th); David Woodward, Utah State (6th); Francis Bernard, Utah (6th)
The Patriots drafted Cassh Maluia in the sixth round as a potential replacement for free agency departee Elandon Roberts, but could still opt to explore the free agency market as well in order to bolster the competition.
A.J. Green, Oklahoma State (5th); Lamar Jackson, Nebraska (5th); Javaris Davis, Auburn (6th); Lavert Hill, Michigan (6th); Essang Bassey, Wake Forest (6th); Javelin Guidry, Utah (7th); Stanford Samuels III, Florida State (7th); Trajan Bandy (7th); Grayland Arnold, Baylor (7th-UDFA)
From Malcolm Butler to Jonathan Jones to J.C. Jackson — New England has had considerable success signing undrafted rookie cornerbacks over the years. The team bringing one or two aboard as depth options would therefore not be surprising, despite the position group being among the deepest in all of football at the moment.
J.R. Reed, Georgia (5th); Shyheim Carter, Albama (7th); Jalen Elliot, Notre Dame (7th)
The Patriots’ safety spot is in a similar position as cornerback: New England has plenty of talented depth, especially now that Kyle Dugger was added via the second round of the draft. The need to bring more safeties on board in free agency is therefore minimal at best.
Best of the rest: WR Aaron Parker, Rhode Island; WR Austin Mack, Ohio State; TE Mitchell Wilcox, Southern Florida; G Kyle Murphy, Rhode Island; LB Michael Pinckney, Miami; LB Dele Harding, Illinois; K Rodrigo Blankeship, Georgia