It’s been many years since the Patriots have had a desirable slot in the draft. But they nonetheless have the ability to make good selections. The key? The staff chooses coachable players who can work within the well-defined Patriots system.
For their first pick in the draft the Patriots chose Isaiah Wynn. He was an offensive tackle at Georgia but also got some playing time in the guard position. At 6’ 3” and 313 pounds he’s a bit undersized, but his previous coaches have the utmost confidence in him, saying that his flexibility to play both guard and tackle makes him an invaluable addition to the New England line.
Can He Replace Nate Solder?
Left tackle Nate Solder is now gone from the Patriots offensive line. It remains to be seen whether Wynn can effectively replace the outgoing tackle. It’s possible he can be a back-up guard behind Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason.
Second Pick Sony Michel
In the second round, the Pats drafted Sony Michel. A running back, he is also from Georgia. He averaged between six and seven yards per carry over his college career. Like Wynn, Michel is also a versatile player. His 64 career catches out of the backfield show that he is a double threat. He could be a good target for Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady.
Why Pick a Running Back?
Many people were thrown off by the Patriot’s choice to pick a running back. They are not in particular need of one as Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead fill out the backfield nicely. James White has also been a go-to guy for the Pats. But the coaching staff is convinced that Michel can add a dynamic new option to the offense.
Third Pick Duke Dawson
With their third pick, the Patriots selected Duke Dawson from Florida. With their first pick on the defensive side of the ball, they chose a jack-of-all-trades in Dawson. As a defensive back he has experience playing safety, slot corner, and perimeter corner as well.
Chances are they can place Dawson in the slot. Coach Belichick likes players who can move around, so he may get time on the perimeter as well. We are interested to see where he ends up permanently, though he could bounce around throughout the season.
Fourth Pick Ja’Whaun Bentley
The fourth pick in the draft saw the Patriots take a linebacker: Ja’Whaun Bentley from Perdue. Picked in round five, Bentley is not a top prospect. But as a three-time captain who started all four years at Perdue, he certainly has promise.
Can He Make it in the NFL?
The main concern with Bentley is his speed. He was overlooked by many NFL teams because he was not deemed fast enough. But he’s a physical player and a good run stopper. He may have a ways to go in terms of pass coverage but he can certainly be making appearances for the Pats on first and second down plays.
Fifth Pick Christian Sam
Another linebacker, out of Arizona State, the Pats chose Christian Sam for their fifth pick. He nicely compliments the previous selection, Ja’Whaun Bentley. Where Bentley is more the powerful inside linebacker type, Sam is more agile and likely to play outside. The two young linebackers make nice additions to an already strong defense.
What to Expect Next Season
Patriot’s fans have learned to trust in the wisdom of Bill Belichick. In New England he is something of a prophet. So there is little cause for concern about what could be considered a mediocre draft.
The seasoned coach made sure he got some fresh talent to protect Brady on the offensive line and some smart, physical guys on the defensive side to flesh out the other side of the ball.
There were no big star picks in this year’s draft for the Patriot’s. But this is not unusual. The coaching staff has faith in their organization and is more interested in intelligent, coachable players than big college stars. After all, To Brady was a no-name, waiting in the wings until Bledsoe got injured. And as we know, he was ready to step up.