NFL Draft: Revisiting and Grading the New England Patriots 2015 NFL Draft Picks
By Hal Bent
5th Round (166th Overall, Via GB) – Joe Cardona (LS, Navy)
One Liner: The Belichick-Navy connection pays dividends.
No NFL team (other than maybe Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore) puts the emphasis on special teams like the New England Patriots. Whether it be kicker, punter, long snapper, or gunner (see the impact captain Matthew Slater has on the unit) the Patriots make no bones about investing in the special teams positions. New England had a need at long snapper and Cardona was the best in the NCAA.
Most teams do not see long snapper as a vital position–in New England that player is considered a starter just like the 22 on offense and defense. With head coach Bill Belichick’s ties to Navy the selection of Cardona in the 2015 NFL Draft seemed like a no-brainer. Cardona had to fulfill his military obligation but was able to fulfill his duty while still playing in the NFL. Cardona proved to be an instant upgrade over at the position last year over the erratic snaps of the previous long snapper Jake Ingram.
Next: 6th Round (177th Overall, Via TB – Jonathan Casillas) – Matthew Wells