The New England Patriots’ 2019 draft class is getting smaller and smaller, with defensive tackle Byron Cowart the latest of its members to be shown the door. The Patriots parted ways with the former fifth-round draft pick on Friday, releasing him after three seasons.
Cowart, 26, originally joined the Patriots as the 159th overall selection in the 2019 draft. A former five-star recruit who split his college career between Auburn and Maryland, he saw limited action as a rookie but had established himself as the team’s number four interior defensive lineman in terms of snaps played by his sophomore campaign.
However, Cowart was forced to open last year’s training camp on New England’s physically unable to perform list for undisclosed reasons. The team never activated him off the list, ending his 2021 season without any in-game appearances.
Cowart also being a no-show during this year’s mandatory minicamp was an ominous sign, and his release confirms the Patriots’ willingness to move on. He ends his career in New England with 19 in-game appearances, 29 tackles and one solitary sack.
With Cowart waived, the Patriots’ 2019 draft class is now down to four players. Cornerback Joejuan Williams, running back Damien Harris, offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste and punter Jake Bailey are still with the team heading towards training camp.
Cowart, meanwhile, has now become the sixth draft selection that year to leave the club prematurely. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry, linebacker Chase Winovich and quarterback Jarrett Stidham were all traded this offseason; cornerback Ken Webster and offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt are already gone since the 2019 and 2020 seasons, respectively.
Additionally, the Patriots announced that wide receiver Malcolm Perry has been sent to the reserve/retired list.
Perry, 25, had to wait until the seventh round of the 2020 draft to hear his name called — despite an immense statistical output during his college career at Navy. However, he failed to find similar success in the NFL, spending time with three different teams — the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Patriots — while seeing action in nine games for a combined 163 snaps between offense and special teams.
In total, Perry has nine receptions and three rushing attempts on his pro-level résumé, resulting in a total output of 97 yards and one touchdown. He also returned one punt for 12 yards but despite his versatility was seen as a long-shot to make New England’s roster this season.
Now retired from the NFL, Perry plans to return to serving in the Navy, per Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed.