Grading the New England Patriots 2016 Draft Class

Grading the New England Patriots 2016 Draft Class

by April 20, 2020 0 comments

In 2016, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots had half their picks in the later round. This is where Belichick and his scouting team thrive. What seems like every other pick was a hit for the Patriots, the team made great selections that would benefit their championship runs in 2016-2018.

Rd 2, pick 60: 

Cyrus Jones (CB, Alabama)

Grade: C-

Cyrus Jones was one of the most frustrating corners for a dysfunctional New England Patriots defense. He seemingly kept getting burnt by third-string receivers, and he always drew pass interference penalties at the worst time. Jones is great in coverage, but he is very undisciplined. He can stay with his man until the ball is thrown his way. At that point, he loses his man trying to find the ball. His time with New England saw two rings where he did help “contribute”. By the 2018 season, he was waived by the Patriots and would later sign to the Ravens. 

 Rd 3, pick 78:

Joe Thuney (G, North Carolina State)

Grade: A+

A Day 1 starting guard, Joe Thuney has been one of the healthiest players on the offensive line that New England Patriots have seen in a decade. He has been a top-10 guard in the league since 2018, and just recently got franchise tagged by the Patriots. Thuney is a tremendous talent that was picked in the middle rounds of the 2016 draft, and he can be considered one of the better players selected in the whole draft. He is a great pass protector, and he has helped the Patriots go to three Super Bowls as a starter. 

 Rd 3, pick 91:

Jacoby Brissett (QB, Florida, North Carolina State)

Grade: B-

Jacoby Brissett’s time in New England was cluttered with talent at his position. The team had Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of Brissett at quarterback. Brissett was able to show his worth in 2016 when he started two games. With Brady suspended and Garroppolo injured, Brissett took over. Although the team had not trusted Brissett to throw the ball a lot, he was capable of keeping the ball protected. The team would later trade Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts where he would be the starter for the team in 2017 and 2019. Brissett could have been Brady’s successor as he has shown flashes of talent in Indianapolis. 

 Rd 3, pick 96: 

Vincent Valentine (DT, Nebraska)

Grade: D+

In his rookie campaign, Vincent Valentine looked as if he could be a reliable defensive lineman. He appeared in 13 games, and he even started two of them. He was able to help a defensive struggling team slow down the run. But unfortunately, his time in New England was cut short as he was placed on the injury reserve (IR) for the whole 2017 season. The team would later waive Valentine as other players ended up outplaying him in his absence.  

Rd 4, pick 112: 

Malcolm Mitchell (WR, Georgia)

Grade: B-

Another player who had a great rookie season for the Patriots, Malcolm Mitchell found himself playing quality snaps in the playoffs and had some important catches in Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons. Mitchell was poised to be the next receiver that Brady could throw to consistently. But just like Valentine, Mitchell found himself on the 2017 IR list. Mitchell, during this time, would lose his spot on the depth chart and would be cut by the team in the 2018 season. Mitchell would later retire in the spring of 2019. Mitchell could have been another good receiver for the Patriots, but injuries derailed his career. 

Rd 6, pick 208: 

Kamu Grugier-Hill (OLB, East Illinois)

Grade: F

Kamu Grugier-Hill did not play a snap for the New England Patriots. As he would be waived by the Patriots right before week one of the 2016 season. This move was made after he was unable to make any difference in the preseason. Grugier-Hill later signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and would win a Super Bowl with them against the Patriots. He did not get his first snap until the following year in 2018, where he has found his place as a rotational linebacker. The Patriots could have used this pick to draft a safety, either Will Parks or Jalen Mills. 

 Rd 6, pick 214: 

Elandon Roberts (ILB, Houston)

Grade: A-

Elandon Roberts has been very versatile for the Patriots. He started his career as a rotational linebacker, but he moved into the starting linebacker in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, he went back to being a rotational linebacker as he would be used more on special teams and offense. Roberts, in 2019, was the team’s fullback as their starting fullback James Develin went down with an injury. Roberts has been a key piece to the Patriots’ success, and the fact that Bill Belichick selected him in the sixth round is a tremendous value. 

Rd 6, pick 221: 

Ted Karras (G, Illinois)

Grade: B-

Ted Karras has been the Patriots’ backup guard since 2016. He can fill in for either guard position, and he is reliable in the run game. In 2019, when the offensive line had multiple injuries across the line, Karras came in for center David Andrews. Although Karras has been a guard in college and for the Patriots, he came in playing center at a very high level. Although not perfect, Karras has been very reliable as the utility lineman. A great selection by Belichick in the later rounds. 

Rd 7, pick 225: 

Devin Lucien (WR, Arizona State, UCLA)

Grade: D-

Devin Lucien never saw a snap in the NFL. However, he has been in and out of the Patriots practice squad since being drafted. Making this pick not a complete waste. With talented players such as safety Jalen Mills and linebacker Scooby Wright available, this pick seems like a failure to the Patriots.

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