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2020 NFL draft grades: Evaluating the Patriots’ performance in the 4th-7th rounds

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Related: Cleaning out the notebook from Day Three of the NFL draft

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2020 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

As they usually are on Day 3, the Patriots were highly active in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds of the NFL Draft on the day of the week when most of us define “highly active” as “what do we have in the fridge for whatever meal this is, anyway?”. The team made 5 total selections over the 4 rounds on Saturday, including the kicker position that’s been filled at a legendary level by two (2) men alone since 1995 until last season.

After double-dipping at tight end on Day 2 just like everyone thought they would in last year’s draft, on Day 3 the team went for a triple-dip in the offensive trenches and also snagged the opposite Wyoming linebacker that everyone thought they would.

As we did yesterday, we’ve rounded up reactions from the people that make what we do possible (talking about the Pulpit readers of course), as well as some New England and national perspectives and analysis. Let’s roll.

View from the Pats Pulpit community

Deja entendu: while the stakes on Day 3 picks are significantly lower than Day 2, of course you all chimed in to let us know whether each pick scratched your itch or not. Starting with the man that’ll hopefully be breaking Stephen Gostkowski’s records in the not-so-distant future...

5-159: K Justin Rohrwasser, Marshall

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots drafting Justin Rohrwasser?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    A
    (782 votes)
  • 28%
    B
    (960 votes)
  • 19%
    C
    (655 votes)
  • 12%
    D
    (428 votes)
  • 15%
    F
    (513 votes)
3338 votes total Vote Now

“This guy probably goes undrafted if we don’t use a 5th rounder on him” -Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr.

“Why not Blankenship? The guy was totally clutch at Georgia” -DennyLemaster23

“He proved he could kick in bad weather. Went 4-4 with a 53 yard game winner against rival Western Kentucky in the rain this fall. Contrast that with Blankenship missing a few pressure kicks this year. I guess we can quibble about the draft value, but I dunno, you need to have a kicker on your team and this guy was the one they liked so they got him. Can’t be mad at it.” -NedSB

“Just a thought. But maybe the NE staff evaluated a bunch of kickers and selected this guy based on metrics as opposed to name recognition by Pulpit posters. Check out his senior bowl workout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H10gc-UvX0&feature=youtu.be” -Tegreman

(editor’s note: Bill must not be reading our emails again.)

“Not suprised about picking a kicker here. Surpised about picking this kicker here” -Mr. Al Czervik

6-182: G Michael Onwenu, Michigan

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots drafting Michael Onwenu?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    A
    (386 votes)
  • 44%
    B
    (716 votes)
  • 22%
    C
    (359 votes)
  • 4%
    D
    (78 votes)
  • 3%
    F
    (59 votes)
1598 votes total Vote Now

“Reading between the lines. Are we keeping Joe Thuney? Lol.” -Welsh Patriot

“Power running game needs a power guard” -MyGasIsFarFromIdeal

“6’2” and 344 pounds. As Matt Light once said when asked about Jonathan Ogden: “he’s a large mammal” -NedSB

“geez. seems like a lotta OLmen..the starting 5 plus Cajuste, Frojholdt, Cunningham, Eleumenur, Onwenu (too many vowels)” -steveark2

6-195: OT Justin Herron

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots drafting Justin Herron?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    A
    (207 votes)
  • 36%
    B
    (512 votes)
  • 36%
    C
    (520 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (122 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (59 votes)
1420 votes total Vote Now

“Good for depth. Two young guys that give some depth and alongside with Frodjholt, 3 guys to develop. Luckily one of them is good enough to replace Thuney if he leaves next year.” -Kid_Bengala

“Does Thuney get traded? Still have cap space that has to be lowered. With no WRs taken I would assume Sanu’s spot is safe.” -DennyLemaster23

“We are no longer...wait for it...thin...at IOL. FroYo is far from guaranteed as a competent NFL player, even as a backup. YoYo might be better at IOL than FroYo even if he’s capable of playing OT. Elu might be acceptable too. But now we have some more options. I wouldn’t think ANY of these guys would warrant enough confidence in becoming a 2020 starter to trade Thuney in the short term.” -MyGasIsFarFromIdeal

“BB just getting ready for any and all contingencies. Pluggin holes and takin names.

Business as usual for the GOAT.” -phoenixrizin

6-204: LB Cassh Maluia

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots drafting Cassh Maluia?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (268 votes)
  • 26%
    B
    (474 votes)
  • 35%
    C
    (627 votes)
  • 14%
    D
    (258 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (147 votes)
1774 votes total Vote Now

“He may not make a Pro Bowl, but he’s on my All Name Team” - Victor Kermit Kiam’s Close Shave

“He is officially my defensive Braxton Berrios !! Cassh Me Owhsigh !!” -Mojobag666

“Camp body?” -maxofmanetheren

7-16: OL Dustin Woodard, Memphis

Poll

How would you grade the Patriots drafting Dustin Woodard?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    A
    (262 votes)
  • 32%
    B
    (537 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (570 votes)
  • 11%
    D
    (182 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (98 votes)
1649 votes total Vote Now

“Pretty good pickup. He played some guard at Memphis.

Pretty stout, but lacks lateral quickness. Could develop into a pretty good backup interior lineman or even a starting center.” -jesot

“Karras replacement. I think that selecting this many players to OL is a lesson learned from last season. They don’t want to rely on journeymans like Newsome or Ferentz, with no upside. This draft players and last draft players are a good cushing to have in case of something wrong happen to the starters.” -Kid_Bengala

“8 backups to the 5 starters is redundancy on steroids” -steveark2

View from New England

“At 6-3, 230 pounds, Rohwasser has a massive leg, was 14-14 on field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime in his collegiate career, and made kicks outdoors in inclement weather.”

“Onwenu receives our highest grade of any Pats pick, offering terrific value as a player with starter potential in the sixth round.”

“Herron’s lack of functional power to hold up inside and tendency to let defenders into his frame gives us pause about his NFL future, but throw his name into the hat as a potential backup on the offensive line.”

“If you can keep him clean and let him fly to the ball, Maluia could be one of the steals of the draft for New England, and he’ll be a core special teamer while he develops at linebacker.”

-Evan Lazar (CLNS Media)

“So the Patriots are basically going to leave Jarrett Stidham alone? Is that it? Sink or swim with a fourth-rounder?

That’s the plan.

He’s in the unenviable position of replacing the greatest quarterback ever with an offense that even Brady had a hard time lugging downfield for much of 2019.

But he’s also in the enviable position of knowing he’s getting the shot he deserves.”

-Tom E. Curran (NBC Sports Boston)

“New England Patriots, C- — Look, far be it from us to play armchair GM and criticize Bill Belichick, but here we go. The upside is there for Kyle Dugger, but he’s a massive question mark coming out of a Division-II school, especially so considering where the Patriots picked him. You could say they took Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche too early, and their decision at kicker was a head-scratcher. What saves their grade here is the additions of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, two fascinating tight ends for what was a woeful position group in New England last season. But really not a great few days for the Patriots — though we guess that’s what happens when you turn the controls over to a dog.”

-Logan Mullen (NESN)

“To commence the sixth round, New England addressed a need for depth on the offensive line…and they did so in a big way.”

“Herron profiles as a developmental backup that offers versatility but may need to move inside to guard to make an impact on the Patriots’ offensive line.”

“If relied upon to be an asset only at the linebacker position, Maluia might be a long shot to secure a roster spot. However, his speed and short-area movement skills may make him a special teams asset.”

-Mike D’Abate (Full Press Coverage)

“New England filled huge holes on both sides of the ball by drafting three linebackers, three offensive linemen, two tight ends, and a kicker. The only position they ignored was quarterback, showing the team believes Jarrett Stidham is better than anyone they could’ve drafted.

Belichick had a vintage draft in 2020 and he’ll head into the season without Tom Brady like nothing has changed in Foxborough.”

-Henry McKenna (Patriots Wire)

“...the New York native has experience kicking in challenging conditions, and was 18-of-21 on field goals in his final college season. This spot in the draft is consistent with where the Patriots have invested in specialists in Belichick’s tenure — Gostkowski was a fourth-rounder in 2006, perennial Pro Bowler coverage player Matthew Slater was a fifth-rounder in 2008, as were punters Zoltan Mesko (2010) and Jake Bailey (2019), and long snapper Joe Cardona (2015).”

-Mike Reiss (ESPN Boston)

National View

“The New England Patriots’ decision to pass on the 2020 quarterback class was slightly less surprising than the Packers’ failure to draft a receiver. But to be fair, there has never been any indication that Belichick planned to substantively add to a group that currently includes Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Anything could happen at any time, and there are some notable free agents remaining on the market, including Cam Newton and Jameis Winston. But at some point, we might just have to accept that Belichick really does plan to replace Tom Brady with Stidham — with Hoyer available to fill in if Stidham can’t handle it. It is a relatively rare reaction to moving on from an MVP quarterback — since 2000, 11 of the 15 teams that have bid farewell to one have drafted a possible replacement in the next draft — but it is very much on brand for Belichick.” -ESPN.com

“Belichick is not afraid to stray from the consensus board a bit, taking Rohrwasser in the fifth round. Sometimes those picks work out for the Patriots; other times, they do not. Time will tell. Onwenu, Herron and Woodard are solid picks late in the draft; one or both will start down the line. Wide receiver is still a major need.” [Grade: C+]

-Chad Reuter (NFL.com)

“The line will get some size with the selection of 340-pound guard Michael Onwenu (Michigan) and guard Justin Herron (Wake Forest) in the sixth round. New England also took Memphis center Dustin Woodard in the seventh round with its final pick.

Woodward has a great shot to make the team. He played in every game during his time at Memphis, including 52 consecutive starts.”

-Kyle Hightower (AP Sports)

“The Patriots always start with a high floor because of Bill Belichick’s ability to know when to stockpile picks. Defensively, they loaded up on ideal versatile players in Dugger, Uche and Jennings for needs. Overhauling tight end made sense, but maybe not as much in terms of trading up and taking those two players vs. others at the position. Rohrwasser was absolutely needed for the kicking game. One can’t ignore, however, the lack of a quarterback to compete with Jarrett Stidham.”

Vinny Iyer (Sporting News) [Grade: B+]

“This was an extremely Bill Belichick draft. The big problem is no quarterback.”

-Dan Kadar (SB Nation) [Grade: B]

“Loser: Patriots

Kyle Dugger is a 24-year old speedster who possesses some concerns regarding his lateral mobility. Edge rusher Josh Uche has a lot of upside. Michigan did not utilize him to the best of his abilities. The additions of offensive linemen Michael Onwenu and Justin Herron were welcomed choices on Day 3 but reaches with their first two picks marred the haul. Edge rusher Anfernee Jennings, tight end Dalton Keene, tight end Devin Asiasi, kicker Justin Rohrwasser, linebacker Cassh Maluia and offensive lineman Dustin Woodard were all earlier selections than most were comfortable with.”

-Josh Edwards (CBS Sports) [Grade: Loser, I guess?]

Strange. No quarterback is even stranger.”

-Ryan Dunleavy (New York Post) [Grade: C+]

“Day 3: He’s not likely to see the field soon, but the Patriots made a great pick in Round 6 when they were able to get interior offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, our 128th-ranked prospect. At 6-foot-3, 350 pounds, Onwenu may not be able to match NFL quicks, but he can match NFL power. Very rarely did someone go through him in pass protection — he allowed only 13 pressures over the last two seasons and posted top-15 pass-blocking grades among guards each season.”

Pro Football Focus [Grade: B]

“Otherwise, New England continued shoring up its defense with back-to-back pass-rushers in Rounds 2 and 3 and grabbed a pair of tight ends in UCLA’s Devin Asiasi and Virginia Tech’s Dalton Keene to try to replace the Rob Gronkowski-sized hole in its offense. Still, the Round 5 capital invested in a kicker and taking Wyoming linebacker Cassh Maluia in Round 6 when the Pats likely could have signed him as an undrafted free agent drag the overall mark down a bit.”

Michelle Bruton, Bleacher Report [Grade: C]