New England Patriots 2015 NFL Draft and Beyond

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Nov 9, 2013; Annapolis, MD, USA; Navy Midshipmen long snapper Joe Cardona (93) strips the ball from Hawaii Warriors wide receiver Donnie King Jr. (49) during the first quarter of the Hawaii Warriors vs Navy Midshipmen game at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

5th Round (166th Overall, Via GB) – Joe Cardona (LS, Navy)

No NFL team (OK, maybe Baltimore) puts the emphasis on special teams like the New England Patriots. Whether it be kicker, punter, long snapper, or gunner the Patriots make no bones about investing in the special teams positions. New England has a need at long snapper and Cardona was the best in the NCAA. With head coach Bill Belichick’s ties to Navy the selection of Cardona seemed like a no-brainer.


2015 Role:

Whether Cardona even gets the chance to play in 2015 is up in the air. As a Naval Academy graduate he has to fulfill his military obligation. The Patriots are hoping for a compromise to allow Cardona to be stationed at the nearby Newport, RI naval base and serve as a recruiting and public relations boon and fulfill his duty while still playing in the NFL. If he gets clearance, expect to see Cardona long snapping immediately.

2016 and Beyond:

With his military obligations straightened out Cardona should join the special teams specialists drafted in New England such as 2012 sixth round draft pick Nate Ebner and 2008 fifth round draft pick Matthew Slater on the Patriots special teams unit.

Similar pick in the past:

The Patriots drafted a long snapper once in the Bill Belichick era and that was in 2009 when the team invested a sixth round draft pick on Jake Ingram. Ingram did not last long as his inaccurate snaps had him out of a job in 2009. However, being burnt once will not scare off Belichick and Cardona should be an upgrade over Ingram in his time in New England.