Grading the New England Patriots 2018 Draft Class

Grading the New England Patriots 2018 Draft Class

by April 18, 2020 0 comments

While they hit on multiple players they selected, the 2018 draft class for the New England was riddled with injury.

This draft shows why Bill Belichick is a genius in the middle to late rounds. After two years in the league, here is the grading for the New England Patriots 2018 draft class.

Rd 1, pick 23: Isaiah Wynn – OT – Georgia

Grade: B

In two seasons, Isaiah Wynn has only played in eight games, even missing his entire rookie season.

Even though Wynn has been injury-prone in his two seasons with the team, he has shown that he is capable of being one of the better tackles in the NFL. The Patriots are exponentially better when Wynn is on the field. Brady’s time in the pocket increased and the run game opened up more when he was out there.

Wynn only receives a B as a grade to the fact that he can not stay healthy. 

Rd 1, pick 32: Sony Michel – RB – Georgia

Grade: B+

Sony Michel had a tremendous rookie year, looking as if he could have been the answer to the New England running game that would push them over the edge.

However, Michel had a sophomore slump. He started more games, but his yards-per-carry went from 4.5 in his rookie year to 3.7 in 2019––though mostly due to the horrific offensive line. Michel accumulated fewer yards in more games.

There is a lot of potential with Michel and is due for a big 2020 season. 

Rd 2, pick 56: Duke Dawson – Cornerback – Florida

Grade: D-

Duke Dawson was placed on injured reserve during his rookie campaign. Right before his sophomore season started, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins. During his time in Miami, he allowed a 75 percent completion rate, which is less than ideal.

In fairness, most of his targets come within the slot, where it is much harder to defend.

Rd 5, pick 143: Ja’Whaun Bentley – Inside Linebacker – Purdue 

Grade: B

Another pick by New England that saw his rookie year taken away early by an injury, as Bentley played just three games before being placed on injured reserve. Before the injury, Bentley was one of the starting inside linebackers.

In 2019, Bentley came back and played a full season. He has yet to record a sack in his career but is tremendous in the run game. Bentley has also shown that he can play well in zone coverage. His grade would be higher if he could accumulate better stats, and if he was not injured most of his rookie year.

A tremendous talent picked in the fifth round.  

Rd 6, pick 178: Christian Sam – Inside Linebacker – Arizona St.

Grade: F

Christian Sam could’ve been a solid pick for New England had Bentley not emerged as such a talented mid-to-late-round pick at linebacker.

Sam was added to the injured reserve in 2018 and has yet to play a game at the NFL level. The former Arizona St. linebacker has been a practice squad regular for New England, Miami, San Francisco, and Detroit despite only being in the league for two years.

Not Belichick’s best late-round selection.

Rd 6, pick 210: Braxton Berrios – Wide Receiver – Miami 

Grade: C-

Berrios could’ve potentially helped a depleted receiving corps in New England last season, but he was released after the 2018 season.

In 2019, he saw 13 targets with the New York Jets and had six receptions for 115 yards.

Seeing Berrios not making the roster in 2019 is the reason he did not receive a higher grade. 

Rd 7, pick 219: Danny Etling – Quarterback – LSU

Grade: F

Perhaps looking to strike gold at quarterback in the later rounds again, Danny Etling proved to not be the answer. Many had no idea that Etling would even get drafted, as many of the quarterbacks from this draft were first-to-second-round talents.

With quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Lamar Jackson going in the first round, the Patriots selected Etling in the seventh. And he has been just that: a seventh-rounder, living on the practice squad with New England during his time.

Etling has been cut or waived by the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons multiple times in his two-year career and has never made it past the practice squad. 

Rd 7, pick 243: Keion Crossen – Cornerback – West Carolina 

Grade: C+

Keion Crossen was not high on the depth chart when he was with the Patriots. He did, however, get to play in 11 games for the team. As a seventh-round pick in a loaded secondary, Crossen provided help towards the end of the depth chart.

Unfortunately, the team did not need his services with J.C Jackson and Jonathan Jones emerging as productive defensive backs. In 2019, Crossen found himself as one of the backup defensive backs for Houston. 

Rd 7, pick 250: Ryan Izzo – Tight End – Florida St.

Grade: B-

Another seventh-round pick that Belichick selected for depth purposes.

Izzo, when drafted, would have to sit behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, but did beat out other veteran tight ends such as Will Tye and Troy Niklas for the final spot on the depth chart.

However, during the Patriots run, he was on injured reserve.

In 2019, Izzo was given a chance to play, catching six passes for over 100 yards in only six games. Although that might not be the best, Izzo showed that he could be used as a red-zone threat down the line. He will have another chance to prove himself in 2020 with a Patriots team that has a lack of offense and a new starting quarterback.

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