The Patriots are famous for their ability to find players who are not high profile prospects leading up to the draft, and have them become key members of the team. Below is a breakdown of the 5 most interesting up and coming players selected by the Patriots in the 2019 draft.
Round 1, Pick 32: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
The pick of N’Keal Harry is a historic move for the Patriots as he is the first wide receiver taken in the first round under Belichick. It makes sense why they did it because they have a depth chart need for WR since Chris Hogan was lost in free agency, and it is still unknown whether Josh Gordon will play next year. N’Keal is a great replacement as one of the play makers at the position in the draft. He has amazing hands and knows how to frame his body so he comes down with jump balls. On top of his catching ability, once he has the ball he has excellent moves and a grit that allows him to get yards after the catch. His amazing skill and hard working nature makes him a great pick for the Patriots.
Round 2, Pick 13 (No. 45 overall): Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
A weird pick here as the Patriots pass up filling spots of need to draft a corner back. They are already deep on the depth chart with coverage positions, with the likes of Gilmore, both McCourty twins, Patrick Chung and JC Jackson all returning. While the placement is weird, Williams is a rarity at his position as he is very tall for a corner at 6’3” making him a perfect player to guard big receivers and tight ends that most corners don’t have the size to match up with one on one. He excelled in college in the SEC which has many NFL caliber receivers every year which shows he can play with the best players in this year’s draft, but he can dominate against them. Lastly, like Harry, Williams is a hard worker. He has an intensity while playing that is hard to match and he has been said to love film which will mesh very well with the current work mentality of the team.
Round 3, Pick 13 (No. 77 overall): Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
A common trait held the Patriots draft picks this year is their incredible work ethic. Winovich showcased this work ethic throughout his time at Michigan, he was on the scout team for a while before finally getting his chance his late sophomore year where he took advantage of the opportunity. He himself dedicates this jump to the ballet lessons he took in the off season to improve his agility and balance. This showcases he is always trying to improve and looking for additional work to help him out, a trait not everyone has. On the field he is a high motor player who has full intensity every snap. He has developed into a ferocious pass rusher who has a tendency for recording tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He has first round talent, but is undersized for a defensive lineman which made him fall to the third round in the draft allowing the Patriots to get a great prospect at a discounted cost.
Round 3, Pick 38 (No. 101 overall): Yodny Cajuste, T, West Virginia
Tackle was a position of need for the Patriots as they lost starting tackle Trent Brown in free agency. While this position is expected to be filled by last year’s first round pick Isaiah Wynn, depth at the tackle is still a need for the Pats. Cajuste has quick feet which help him with both pass and run blocking. He is a tough run blocker who keeps moving his feet allowing him to drive the defender further than others. A big concern for him is his durability as he has suffered two separate knee injuries and a quad injury that required surgery throughout college. Only time will tell if he can stay healthy, but he has starter caliber potential.
Round 4, Pick 31 (No. 133 overall): Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
It is always interesting when the Patriots select quarterbacks, especially in later rounds. Every time they pick one, many wonder if they will be Brady’s successor. Jarrett has all the physical gifts of a good NFL quarterback, with good size, arm strength, and the ability to run when needed. The reason Stidham is so low in the draft is he doesn’t have the mental portion of the game down yet. His main problem seems to be a confidence problem. He tends to be indecisive in the pocket or he rushes plays before they are there, showing he is lacking confidence in the position. His first step in the NFL will have to be to improve the mental portion of the his game before his on the field play can develop any further.