Grading the Draft - New England Patriots

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Chris Tripodi

Draft Analyst Writer

Like its AFC East cohorts, New England was rumored to be interested in a quarterback in the first round. That scenario didn’t play out, so the Patriots wound up giving their current Hall of Fame signal caller some extra help on the first day.

Round 1 (No. 23 overall): Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia

Round 1 (No. 31): Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Round 2 (No. 56): Duke Dawson, CB, Florida

Round 5 (No. 143): Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue

Round 6 (No. 178): Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State

Round 6 (No. 210): Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami

Round 7 (No. 219): Daniel Etling, QB, LSU

Round 7 (No. 243): Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina

Round 7 (No. 250): Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State

UDFA: Ryan Anderson, P, Rutgers; Jonathan Atkins, DT, Georgia; Corey Bojorquez, P, New Mexico; Trent Harris, DE, Miami; Frank Herron, DT, LSU; JC Jackson, CB, Maryland; Chris Lacy, WR, Oklahoma State; A.J. Moore, CB, Ole Miss; Rapheal Webb, RB, Vanderbilt; Shane Wimann, FB, Northern Illinois

The Patriots looked to a pair of Bulldogs in Round 1 to boost their offense. We had Isaiah Wynn rated as a guard, where he played his sophomore and junior seasons for Georgia before moving to left tackle in 2017, but New England plans to try him at tackle despite his short 33 3/8-inch arms and lack of elite footwork. His movement skills give him a nice floor if he's forced back inside to guard eventually.

Sony Michel was a rare investment in a first-round running back for New England. A committee back in college, Michel combines good athleticism and pass-catching skills with decent size at 214 pounds and could become a feature back in the NFL if the Patriots decide to use him that way. He should be the favorite to take on departed Dion Lewis’ role.

The second of New England’s top three picks to play at the Senior Bowl, Duke Dawson was a bit of a reach based on our board and has his share of struggles in reverse and with his back to the ball, but he should battle for sub-package snaps right away.

Through trades, the Patriots had six shots at hitting on Day 3 picks. Ja’Whaun Bentley is a two-down run defender with good size and awareness who could also contribute on special teams, but we had him rated as a UDFA. Christian Sam is a better prospect and has the athletic ability to play on all three down as he develops.

Braxton Berrios was another Senior Bowl alum and is the Patriots’ newest small slot receiver, replacing Danny Amendola. He adds value as a punt returner and shows natural receiving skills, but his 5-foot-8.5, 184-pound frame will limit him somewhat.

New England got a head start on rookie free agency with three seventh-round picks who we rated as free-agent prospects. Daniel Etling is a good athlete who can keep an offense moving with short and intermediate passes but struggles to push the ball downfield. Keion Crossen is small (5-foot-9.5, 173 pounds) but athletic and projects as a special teamer or secondary depth. Ryan Izzo is a catch-and-fall tight end who gives effort as a blocker but lacks upside.

Undrafted free agent JC Jackson was a third-rounder on our board and showed consistent improvement at Maryland. He could challenge for a role on defense earlier than expected, and we had him rated higher than Dawson. Chris Lacy is raw prospect with the size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and speed (4.47) to be worth developing on the practice squad.

Analysis: The Patriots had nine picks, but four of those were used to bring in free-agent prospects. Scooping Jackson after the draft was a nice addition, and Wynn and Michel should be plus starters, but overall this was a slightly disappointing haul from a draft with three top-60 picks and nine in all. Grade: C+