New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gained a reputation as something of a mastermind in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL Draft.
While he has 12 picks this year (11 from the third round onward), it’s important to look back at previous drafts to see how he’s done.
For that, let’s grade each Patriots draft pick from 2019.
Rd 1, pick 32:
N’Keal Harry – Wide Receiver – Arizona St.
Harry only appeared in seven games for New England in his rookie year but showed flashes of brilliance when given the opportunity. Due to New England’s run-heavy, dink-and-dunk offense, Harry’s presence wasn’t felt quite like it should’ve. However, when given the ball downfield, he was able to show the promise of a future deep threat, catching sideline throws and playing physical to the ball.
Rd 2, pick 45:
Joejuan Williams – Cornerback – Vanderbilt
With Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones taking most of the snaps for New England, Williams barely saw the field. In nine games, he showed the team enough promise that he can keep up with such play from those higher than him on the depth chart. Having these high-level talents should help Williams develop faster into becoming a regular rotation piece.
Rd 3, pick 77:
Chase Winovich – Defensive End – Michigan
Chase Winovich was the steal of the draft for the Patriots. A player who should have been a high second-round talent was taken in the third round and fell to an already growing Patriots defense. Winovich showcased his pass-rushing ability, as he had 10 quarterback hits and 5.5 sacks last season. Winovich was also able to move around the defense, as he played outside linebacker as well as defensive end.
He is very versatile and could grow into another Patriot great on the defensive side of the ball.
Rd 3, pick 87:
Damien Harris – Running Back – Alabama
Since the Patriots entered last season with Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead, the Damien Harris pick seemed a bit odd at first. However, Michel is coming off of a down year and Burkhead isn’t any younger––maybe Harris could become their replacement. Unfortunately, the young tailback was inactive for most of the 2019 season, so there is not much go off for his play in the NFL.
For now, he’ll receive a grade of a C until he gets more playing time for the Patriots.
Rd 3, pick 101:
Yodny Cajuste – Offensive Tackle – West Virginia
Cajuste did not see the field in 2019. In July of 2019, he was placed on the non-football injury list. Even with the depth chart thinned out, and with injuries riddling the team all season, Cajuste still could not find himself on the roster.
This pick could have been used as another slot in Hakeem Butler or defensive end Maxx Crosby.
Rd 4, pick 118:
Hjalte Froholdt – Offensive Guard – Arkansas
Froholdt, just like Cajuste, did not see the field in 2019. Another offensive lineman picked in the middle rounds that would not be utilized. Even with trouble on the offensive line, this pick seems to be a bust for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.
Rd 4, pick 133:
Jarrett Stidham – Quarterback – Auburn
This grade could either rise or fall based on this upcoming 2020 season. Stidham has the chance to start for the team now due to the departure of Tom Brady.
If Stidham can beat out veteran Brian Hoyer for the job in New England, then this pick has “steal” potential. However, he only threw three passes in 2019 and one of them went the other way for a touchdown against the Jets. There’s no questioning the potential, but there are definitely questions about if he’s actually capable of it.
Rd 5, pick 159:
Byron Cowart – Defensive Tackle – Maryland
Cowart was not expected to start at any point this season. The defensive tackle position in New England is usually crowded with players that can play both as a tackle or an end. Players such as John Simon and Lawrence Guy have been able to fill the running lanes for the team.
It was impressive that Cowart saw action in five games this season. He has the potential to be a rotation piece for New England by his third year if the team loses either Adam Butler or Beau Allen.
Rd 5, pick 163:
Jake Bailey – Punter – Stanford
This punter was a great selection by Belichick. He took a very reliable Ryan Allen job in a matter of weeks. He even became the placekicker for New England. Bailey, although selected in the fifth round, will be with the team for many years to come should he continue his 2019 play.
Rd 7, pick 252:
Ken Webster – Cornerback – Mississippi
Drafted by the New England Patriots, the team had already filled their secondary needs. The Patriots would place Webster on waivers by the end of August. However, he would be signed by the Miami Dolphins and have a decent rookie campaign for a seventh-round selection.
The reason why Webster gets a D+ is that he didn’t even play a game for the Patriots and saw all of his success come on another team. Had he stuck around, perhaps his grade would be higher.