Between two significant injuries and a career-worst performance from starting quarterback Mac jones, the New England Patriots’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys was a bad one all around. The rookie class was also not immune, even though it did have some promising moments in the 38-3 blowout.
Let’s quickly go through all the rookies on the Patriots’ active roster to find out how they performed against the Cowboys. As always, we will start with first-round draft pick Gonzalez and work our way down from there.
CB Christian Gonzalez (1-17): Gonzalez’s fourth career game came to an end after just 19 plays. The first-round selection landed awkwardly on his shoulder after making a tackle on a Tony Pollard run in the late first period, and had to exit the game because of an injury. While the severity of the ailment is not yet known, the belief is that Gonzalez will miss significant time due to the issue — a blow to the Patriots defense, and unfortunate development in what was one of the most promising rookie seasons in recent memory.
ED Keion White (2-46): Second-round draft pick Keion White had his most active day to date. Playing 28 snaps on defense — plus seven more on the field goal/extra point blocking teams — he registered a tackle while being used primarily as an outside linebacker. With Pro Bowler Matthew Judon also going down against Dallas and potentially missing the remainder of the season, White is a realistic candidate to see his snap count increase even further moving forward.
LB/S Marte Mapu (3-76): Mapu also set a new career-high in snaps. Playing 52 of them between defense and special teams, he wore several hats versus the Cowboys. On defense, he was used primarily as an off-ball linebacker but also moved back into a safety alignment, in the slot, and even out wide on a pair of snaps. On special teams, meanwhile, he was part of four units: kickoff and punt return as well as kickoff and punt coverage. The arrow is pointing up for Mapu, who registered a pair of tackles on Sunday.
C Jake Andrews (4-107): The game against Dallas was business as usual for Jake Andrews. The Patriots’ backup center did not see any action on offense, with his only two reps coming on the field goal protection unit.
K Chad Ryland (4-112): Ryland’s day was both quiet and uneven. The rookie kicker split the uprights from 29 yards out to cap off the Patriots’ first possession of the game, but later missed a 52-yarder wide to the right. His two kickoffs, meanwhile, ended as touchbacks.
G Sidy Sow (4-117): Sow made his return after missing the previous two games because of a concussion. He did not play any snaps on offense, though, and like Jake Andrews was used exclusively as part of the field goal team.
G Atonio Mafi (5-144): With Cole Strange out because of a knee injury, the Patriots turned to their fifth-round guard to start at left guard — the second start of his young career, and first on the left side of center David Andrews. Mafi ended up playing all 55 offensive snaps, but he once again was inconsistent as both a run blocker and pass protector. While he has proven himself a valuable spot starter, he is a clear downgrade from Strange and right guard Michael Onwenu.
WR Kayshon Boutte (6-187): Boutte saw extensive snaps in the season opener against Philadelphia, but has been a healthy scratch ever since. The Patriots added him to their list of inactives again ahead of Sunday’s game.
P/H Bryce Baringer (6-192): With the Patriots offense struggling throughout the day, Baringer had another active outing. The rookie punted the ball away on five occasions with a gross gain of 45.0 and a net of 42.4. New England was able to limit dangerous Cowboys returner KaVontae Turpin to just 13 combined yards on two runbacks.
WR Demario Douglas (6-210): Even though he continues to play a relatively minor role within the New England offense, playing 18 snaps as the No. 4 wide receiver option, Douglas continues to make plays. Against the Cowboys, who caught two passes for 45 yards — including a 42-yard pickup to convert a 3rd-and-6 that saw him put a vicious spin move on Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson. In addition, Douglas also served as punt returner. His only opportunity, however, resulted in a 2-yard loss.
CB Ameer Speed (6-214): Speed was back in his usual role on Sunday, playing 12 snaps as part of three kicking game units. He did not register any statistics, but was featured on punt return, kickoff return, and kickoff coverage.
The Patriots’ rookie class extends beyond those 11 players, of course. Three undrafted rookies — wide receiver/quarterback Malik Cunningham, wide receiver T.J. Luther, and cornerback Azizi Hearn — are all on the practice squad but were not elevated for the game against Dallas. Another UDFA CB, William Hooper, was cut from the practice squad last week.
In addition, seventh-round cornerback Isaiah Bolden is on season-ending injured reserve. The seventh-round selection will miss the remainder of the year because of a concussion he suffered in preseason.