Steve Seufert| May 2nd, 2020
Life without Tom Brady is so hard to imagine. As a football fan, it just doesn’t seem right. It’ll be interesting to see how Bill Belichick attacks the roster moving forward. Going into the draft the big question was surrounding Jarrett Stidham and whether they’d be willing to anoint him the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots. Based on the draft, it appears they have a plan or identity and they stuck to it. I discussed that plan or and identity below.
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Round 2, Pick 37: Kyle Duggar, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
After dominating the Division II collegiate level, Duggar went onto impress at the senior bowl and the combine. He produced a 142 athletic SPARQ score at the combine, which is good for the 99th percentile among NFL safeties. It’s difficult to find that rare athleticism anywhere, especially at safety. Players that post those sorts of athletic testing numbers typically find themselves playing corner or receiver, but Duggar is definitely a pro-ready safety.
Play speed is on another dimension at the Divison II level, making it extremely difficult to get an accurate evaluation of the player. With that being said, he did what he was supposed to do. He has a versatile profile and can play both free safety and down in the box. He’s so instinctive and tough against the run game he could probably creep into a linebacker role in sub-packages. Overall, I preferred Jeremy Chinn, who the Carolina Panthers grabbed later on in the draft. With that being said, Duggar should come in and compete, making this defense better from day one.
Kyle Duggar could be a Patriots favorite in no time.
For someone so fast it’s odd to see someone play so physically. Plays like an absolute missile 🚀 Take a look ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/DMzbR4NmBw
— Boston Cream 🍩 (@itsbostoncream) April 25, 2020
Round 2, Pick 60: Josh Uche, OLB, Michigan
You can’t say enough good things about Uche. With only one year of starting experience, Uche fell into the late second round. He reminds me of a prospect that was highly touted in the 2017 draft, Haason Reddick. As many know, Reddick hasn’t lived up to his potential but he’s also been through multiple regimes, playing out of position. I don’t expect that to happen with Uche in New England. He’s coming to Foxborough with elite hand technique paired with heavy hands. He plays with excellent short-area burst and quickness, allowing him to attack as a pass rusher from many different alignments. The mental processing and key and diagnose should sharpen with more starting experience. The Patriots mix their linebackers almost every play, and Uche will help add to that versatility.
Josh Uche x Chase Winovich pic.twitter.com/X4j7Kd3Irp
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) April 25, 2020
Round 3, Pick 87: Anfernee Jennings, OLB, Alabama
The former Alabama senior captain is a true 3-4 outside linebacker. New England is one of the only teams left that run a true 3-4 base defense. Although an average athlete, Jennings is a physical football player with a high football IQ. He’s solid at rushing the passer but I think his best trait is setting the edge, hammering opposing tackles and tight ends. He uses his 33-inch arms to long-arm tackles into the lap of the quarterback and he flashes a good inside move. He’s not a very good run and chase defender and he struggles in space. This can be attributed to his poor athletic profile.
Bill Belichick identified a high floor prospect with good football character. Jennings is going to start as the outside linebacker from day one. With the departure of Kyle Van Noy, they needed to find a replacement. Moving forward, pairing Jennings with Uche provides this position group with a high floor for years to come.
Round 3, Pick 91: Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA
Patriots fans, I’m excited to talk about this one. Asiasi was my number three ranked tight end heading into the draft, and he went where I anticipated. Although he only produced in one season, he is more than pro-ready. I love his play strength at the top of his routes, at the catch point, and as a blocker. I also like his play speed, especially at the 280-pound weight that he was rumored to play at.
Belichick needed a new tight end with Rob Gronkowski retiring and eventually joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Asiasi profiled as a true y-tight end. One that can both block, and split out wide as a receiver. Once he learns the technicalities of blocking, Asiasi will be an every-down force for the Patriots.
Devin Asiasi is one of the best-kept secrets in the 2020 draft. He might have the most upside of any TE in the class. He was a guy I didn’t get to study until late and finished as my TE3. Wins inline with just pure size and effort. Wait till he learns how to block. pic.twitter.com/63gp54Zspu
— Steve (@SteveNFL_) April 20, 2020
Round 3, Pick 101: Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech
Keene had a SPARQ score of 128.6, scoring in the 80th percentile for NFL tight ends. Keene is very similar to the first couple of picks. He’s a high motor player that is working at full effort until the whistle. The former Hokie isn’t polished as a receiver but he can separate from linebackers because he’s typically the far superior athlete. In order to become a real threat in the receiving game, he will have to work through the entire route tree. James Develin retired after the draft was finished but drafting Keene might signify that Belichick knew it was going to happen. That’s who Keene is, he’s Develin’s replacement. I would expect Keene to pave the way for Sony Michel and catch passes in a smaller receiving role. He will also profile as a good special teams player, thanks to his effort and athleticism.
The majority of Dalton Keene’s explosive plays in 2019 came on screens, flats, and crossers (mainly short routes). Unproven as a downfield threat, but his YAC ability is impressive pic.twitter.com/IK2pWoaITu
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) April 11, 2020
Round 5, Pick 159: Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall
You don’t draft kickers. You don’t draft kickers with offensive tattoos. This is Bruce Allen and Matt Millen level bad.
Round 6, Pick 182: Michael Onwenu, OG, Michigan
You’re getting a pure mauling offensive guard. Onwenu wins with good play strength and heavy hands. His jolting punches stun opposing defensive lineman at the point of attack. His long arms and thick lower body frame allow him to stun bull rushers making them essentially useless. Unfortunately, he’s a poor athlete and his feet are super heavy. He will struggle to get into the second level and will have trouble squaring up smaller defenders in the second level.
With two good guards in Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason, Onwenu will likely start his career on the bench. I think this is a really good situation for Onwenu, they’re allowing him to transform some of that bad weight into good weight. It will also give him a chance to learn the offense, making year two a little less stressful on the brain.
Round 6, Pick 195: Justin Herron, OT, Wake Forest
Herron is a really fluid athlete for his size, almost like a power forward in basketball. I think he’s tough at the point of attack but he’s clearly raw. His play strength is marginal and he will need at least one full season in the Patriots weight room. He will benefit from spending a year in an NFL strength training program.
Herron makes for another nice project in that offensive tackle meeting room. Former third-round pick Yodny Cajuste is already the swing tackle, hoping to eventually tap into his full potential. Herron will settle in behind Cajuste and have a chance to learn. Unlike Cajuste, I think Herron’s athleticism will allow him to kick inside to guard, but it won’t matter until he improves his play strength.
Even though he didn’t test great at the #NFLCombine, I still like Wake Forest offensive tackle, Justin Herron. An experienced player that has shown some versatility (played guard at the #SeniorBowl). Normally has some smooth feet and I like how he handles this pass rush from Kendall Coleman. pic.twitter.com/lhWk3tYPTU
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) March 3, 2020
Round 6, Pick 204: Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming
Who is this guy? That’s a good question. I had no idea who Maluia was before the draft or when he was selected. I turned on some Logan Wilson tape to find Maluia and came away pleasantly surprised. He’s a good athlete and his play speed is there. Based on Belichick’s history and where he was selected, Maluia is coming into New England to compete on special teams. I could see him competing for a dime linebacker role in the future because of the effort and play speed, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
— Matt Howard (@phspiratesfb) October 23, 2016
Round 7, Pick 230: Dustin Woodard, C, Memphis
Woodard is an interesting prospect because his size and play strength are extremely poor but his tape is fast and technical. He’s got quick feet and he uses those to get into the second level. His lateral agility at least allows him to leverage off the defender. He struggles in pass protection with power rushes and will get throttled on occasion. There’s a belief that Woodard has versatility and can play three offensive line spots. I think he would benefit from playing in a zone-blocking scheme.
RG Dustin Woodard clubs and climbs pic.twitter.com/2Zgu3h7vEt
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) February 1, 2019
There were some good picks, there were some bad picks, and there was the worst pick of the draft. However, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t bet against Belichick. It’s evident that they’re prepared to roll with Jarrett Stidham for the year. I believe they attacked the draft by targeting high-floor players to try and keep themselves afloat. I thought they did a good job of identifying hardworking and high football character guys. The dynasty is over and it’s time to rebuild. It starts with instilling good culture.
Overall Grade: C+
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