Their 15-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday was a new experience for the New England Patriots’ rookie class: they left the field as victors for the first time in their careers. What was not new was that multiple first-year players were again prominently featured.
Let’s quickly go through all of them to find out how they performed against the Jets. As always, we will start with first-round draft pick Gonzalez and work our way down from there.
CB Christian Gonzalez (1-17): The Patriots’ first-round draft pick continues to perform at a very high level. Despite seeing regular action against the NFL’s 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Garrett Wilson, Gonzalez surrendered just five catches for 45 yards on 41 coverage snaps, per Pro Football Focus. He also had a pass breakup and did not miss any of his three tackle attempts. Another quality outing.
ED Keion White (2-46): While flying a bit under the radar compared to a player like Christian Gonzalez, White continues to stack positive games together. Against the Jets, he was on the field for 18 snaps and finished with a pair of quarterback pressures as well as a tackle. He also was again moved all over the formation, seeing most of his action outside the tackle this week.
LB/S Marte Mapu (3-76): Filling his hybrid linebacker/safety role once more, Mapu had a relatively quiet game. He played seven snaps on defense and 10 on special teams, and did not register any statistics. A reason for concern? Hardly, given that the Patriots were seemingly more worried about the run than the pass against the Zach Wilson-led Jets.
C Jake Andrews (4-107): As was the case the first two weeks of the season, the Patriots’ backup center was used exclusively on special teams again. He played five snaps as part of the field goal/extra point protection teams.
K Chad Ryland (4-112): New England’s rookie kicker had a challenging day. He did split the uprights from 48 and 51 yards out despite rainy conditions and also made an extra point, playing a key role in the team’s victory. However, he also went wide right from 48 and wide left from 57. Both kicks might have been negatively impacted by high snaps, though.
G Sidy Sow (4-117): After starting the season opener at right guard, Sow has now missed back-to-back games because of a concussion. He was ruled out on Saturday, before the team traveled to New York.
G Atonio Mafi (5-144): Mafi started the game on the bench, but entered the lineup in the third quarter after left guard Cole Strange exited with a knee injury. The change certainly did not help New England’s offense against a talented defensive front, even though Mafi surrendered only one quarterback pressure in his nine pass blocking snaps. In total, he was on the field for 28 snaps.
WR Kayshon Boutte (6-187): Boutte played a prominent role in the season opener against Philadelphia, but has been a healthy scratch ever since. The Patriots added him to their list of inactives ahead of Sunday’s game.
P/H Bryce Baringer (6-192): Baringer had a busy day on Sunday. Not only did he hold on Chad Ryland’s five place kick attempts — doing a good job getting those aforementioned high snaps down — he also attempted eight punts. Even though his gross (40.3) and net (35.4) averages do not stand out, he was able to place the ball well and pinned the Jets inside their own 20 on four occasions.
WR Demario Douglas (6-210): Douglas was benched for losing a fumble against Miami the previous week, but he was back in the lineup versus the Jets. He played 17 offensive snaps, finishing with a 15-yard catch and a 5-yard carry, and also was used on special teams: he ran back two punts for a combined 14 yards but also bobbled a fair catch. While that led to the team inserting safety Jabrill Peppers into the lineup for a handful of returns as well, it is clear New England is trying to get the youngster involved.
CB Ameer Speed (6-214): A healthy scratch last week, Speed returned to the game day roster on Sunday; Marcus Jones being sent to injured reserve and Jonathan Jones being ruled out created a need for improved depth at cornerback. However, Speed was not used on defense and again saw all 15 of his snaps on special teams: he appeared on the kickoff and punt return units and registered his first career tackle on the kickoff coverage squad.
The Patriots’ rookie class extends beyond those 11 players, of course. Wide receiver/quarterback Malik Cunningham, wide receiver T.J. Luther, and cornerbacks Azizi Hearn and William Hooper are all on the practice squad. They were not elevated for the game against New York, though.
In addition, the 12th and final member of New England’s draft class — cornerback Isaiah Bolden — remains on injured reserve. The seventh-round selection will miss the remainder of the year because of a concussion he suffered in preseason.