Entering the final day of the 2020 NFL draft with six scheduled selections still in the fold after already making five picks the day before, the New England Patriots continued to be quite busy on Saturday. While Bill Belichick and company were not as aggressive as they were during rounds two and three, they still came away with a total of five players who will all get a chance to compete for roster spots in New England this summer.
Let’s meet the five newest Patriots:
- K Justin Rohrwasser, Marshall
- G Michael Onwenu, Michigan
- G Justin Herron, Wake Forest
- LB Cassh Maluia, Wyoming
- C Dustin Woodard, Memphis
With that said, let’s take a closer look at how the third day of the draft unfolded from New England’s perspective.
Patriots draft K Justin Rohrwasser: 5-159
New England did not make a selection in the fourth round, but came back in the fifth to fill its vacant place kicker position — one that had been open since the offseason release of Stephen Gostkowski. Seeing the Patriots add a new kicker on Saturday did therefore not come as a surprise, even though Marshall’s Justin Rohrwasser may not have been the highest-profile player available in this year’s draft at the position. Nevertheless, he became the first one off the board due to his combination of strong leg and accuracy. Rohrwasser is now the frontrunner to fill Gostkowski’s former role.
Patriots trade up, draft G Michael Onwenu: 6-182
Trade: New England gets 6-182; Indianapolis gets 6-212 and 6-213
The Patriots’ only trade of the day saw them bundle together two picks to move up the board and select Michigan guard Michael Onwenu 182nd overall. Onwenu’s combination of size — he was measured at 6-foot-2 1/2, 344 pounds at the scouting combine — and strength makes him an intriguing player and a realistic candidate to earn a backup spot along New England’s interior offensive line in 2020.
Patriots draft G Justin Herron: 6-195
Just like they did at edge linebacker and tight end on Day Two, the Patriots also decided to double-dip at the guard position. 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, but he does project favorably on the interior and will compete against Onwenu for a reserve spot behind starting centers Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason.
Patriots draft LB Cassh Maluia: 6-204
While slightly undersized by New England’s standards at the linebacker position — he was measured at 248 pounds at the combine but only 6-foot-0 — Maluia has proven himself a capable downfield attacker from the off-the-ball position. As such, he should help the Patriots fill the void created when former depth linebacker and late-round draft pick Elandon Roberts signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency.
Patriots draft C Dustin Woodard: 7-230
New England went back to the interior line with its final selection of the day and selected Memphis center Dustin Woodard 230th overall. Woodard gives the Patriots an emergency option behind starting center David Andrews, and another body to be thrown into the reserve mix. While he is somewhat undersized at 6-foot-1, 295 pounds, his experience — he started 52 games during his career at Memphis — and versatility should help him earn a depth spot on the roster or at least the practice squad during his 2020 rookie campaign.