The Patriots entered the 2020 NFL Draft with 12 draft picks, tied for the most in the league with the Vikings. They had some serious holes to fill after losing Tom Brady, Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and some other starting-caliber players. We lost a lot of talent this offseason and did not bring in one notable player in free agency. No offense, Brian Hoyer.
However, there was still hope because the Patriots actually had some draft capitol, including the 23rd pick in the draft. We also had picks 87, 98 and 100, which would allow us to trade up in a class that has been highly regarded as one the deepest classes in the modern era. This class is filled with impact players. Players that will be significant to their team in year one. Then pick 23 finally rolled around, just under three hours into the draft. A ton of impact players were still available, yet we chose to trade out of round one, passing on some of the best young players in the country.
It was still okay though, because as I mentioned before, this is a deep class and the Patriots had picks 37, 71, 87, 98 and 100. This gave them a chance to potentially get two top-tier picks if they moved up in the draft. I entered day two with real optimism as the list of impact players extended well past pick 37. It was a sure thing that we were going to get a stud at 37 and there was a real chance we could trade up in the 50ish range to target another talented prospect. I wrote about some of my favorite players entering day two:
If you read the article you would see that I was very high on Xavier McKinney. I was frustrated when the Giants took him 36th overall, one spot before our selection. It did not matter as Bill Belichick picked the first player I did not know in the draft, Kyle Dugger – a division two safety. He was the 5th ranked safety in the class, and Belichick picked him over Grant Delpit who was the 2019 Jim Thorpe winner and a key contributor to one of the best teams college football history.
We had serious voids to fill and our highest drafted player is going to spend the year adjusting to playing at a level with actual talent on the field. He spent his SIX year college career covering division two talent. Most people know a division two football player. If you do, picture that player and then compare him to Tyreek Hill. That is the transition Dugger will have to make during a global pandemic where he will not be able to even get a full training camp.
To be completely fair Dugger is an enticing prospect, but I fully believe we could’ve picked him up with one of the late third-round picks. Uche and Jennings will factor into the restructured front seven. We also added a kicker and some depth on the offensive line. It’s not all bad, I just expected more.
Lets look at some the top competition for the Patriots and compare:
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
This was a somewhat debated decision as they went with the LSU bulldozer over three highly ranked running backs. That said, Edwards-Helaire is going to be a three-down back alongside Damien Williams. He is a weapon that will factor in day one and help that dominant Chiefs offense in the running and passing game.
63. Willie Gay Jr.
Gay Jr. is an inside linebacker that is going to help a defense that struggled badly against the run. He is a talented run stopper that will be essential for a team that was 26th against the run in 2019 with some pass rush ability as well.
28. Patrick Queen
The Ravens became a much better team over the last few days. This is a prime example of a good team filling much needed voids by drafting impact prospects. They let the best inside linebacker fall into their lap with the 28th pick. The Ravens’ biggest need was ILB and they got a three-down linebacker with Pro Bowls in his future. Queen was the leader for an LSU defense that had as much NFL talent as any college football team in history.
55. J.K. Dobbins
The Ravens had the best rushing attack in football in 2019. Somehow that rushing attack was able to become even stronger in day two. Dobbins was a potential first-round pick and the Ravens nabbed him at the end of the second. Jackson, Ingram and Dobbins will be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses.
92. Devin Duvernay
The Ravens’ receiving core had the least amount of yards in the NFL. Baltimore decided to add a stud in Duvernay that will factor in immediately. His 4.39 speed will be a nice addition to Hollywood Brown, who people believe could have broken the 40-yard dash record at last year’s combine if he was not injured.
98. Malik Harrison
Harrison is another inside linebacker to help shore up the front seven. Baltimore came into the draft needing to improve the middle of the defense and they did so, pairing Queen with Harrison.
The Patriots used their draft selections to acquire depth. Meanwhile some of the best in the AFC picked up starters with serious upside. New England did take two tight-ends, but passed Cole Kmet, the best tight-end in the class. Once I take a deeper look at each prospect I’m sure optimism will follow. It was just tough to watch seemingly every other team find a couple of players that will factor in immediately because they have already proven their worth at the highest level of competition.