Throughout the past three days, the New England Patriots took their fans on a rollercoaster of emotions. They made ten total draft selections, each of which bringing out a new emotion from their fan base. They ranged from puzzling to comforting as many asked what their strategy actually was.
Well, the draft is over, and looking at the full picture tells you a few things. One, they wanted to get more athletic. Two, the decisions that they made were solely based off of the work that they had done, ignoring all outside noise. It remains to be seen how that strategy will work out for them in the long haul, so for now let’s take a look at the initial winners and losers from the Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Winners: The Draft Picks
We went through this the past two days. Each and every player who heard their names get called this weekend fulfilled a dream. On Saturday alone, the Patriots made seven players’ dreams come true. Jack Jones, Pierre Strong Jr., Bailey Zappe, Kevin Harris, Sam Roberts, Chasen Hines, and Andrew Stueber were the latest to feel that thrill.
Whether you like the picks or you don’t, you can’t argue that it was a great weekend for those seven young men.
Loser: QB Jarrett Stidham
In 2019, the Patriots selected Jarrett Stidham with the 133rd overall pick in the hopes that he could develop into a longterm backup, or even a potential starter once Tom Brady finally departed. Three years later, he’s played in just eight career games and saw his replacement get chosen with the 137th overall pick.
Bailey Zappe isn’t going to push Mac Jones for the starting gig. The Patriots have found a long-term starter at quarterback. What Zappe can do; however, is firmly entrench himself as Jones’ right hand man. As we all know, it only takes one snap, and Bailey now has the opportunity to jump passed everyone to become first in line.
Loser: RB Damien Harris
This one hurts a bit, as Damien Harris has been the ultimate Patriot and Bostonian since arriving to New England in 2019. When healthy over the last two seasons, he has been New England’s bell cow back, and he deserves all the flowers we’ve given him. That being said, the writing is on the wall.
Over the last two drafts the Patriots have selected three running backs. Rhamondre Stevenson’s rookie year was a smashing success and it looks as though he’s ready for a larger role within the offense. Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris, the two running backs selected this season, each come into camp with tremendous upside. Strong was the fastest running back at the combine, running a sub-4.4 forty yard dash, while Kevin Harris showed out in all explosion measurables, ranking second in vertical leap and broad jump.
For as good as he’s been, Damien Harris enters a contract year in 2022. Unless he’s able to fully pull away from the pack over the course of this season, he might be finding a new home in 2023.
Winner: Assistant OL Coach Billy Yates
The Patriots have yet to finalize their 2022 coaching staff, meaning they haven’t named an official replacement for former offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo. Billy Yates will serve as our placeholder for whoever ends up with that job.
The Patriots got some beef up front. The selections of Cole Strange, Chasen Hines, and Andrew Stueber have solidified what is now one of the deepest rooms on the entire team in the offensive line. The team will now roll into training camp with 16 offensive lineman following their reported UDFA signings. That's a lot of beef to work with.