The New England Patriots landed the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft in the third round with Chase Winovich, who has impressed during his rookie season.
The New England Patriots must be thrilled with what they’ve seen so far from third-round rookie Chase Winovich. Despite limited playing time, the former Wolverine has consistently impressed and shown flashes of his disruptive abilities.
At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Winovich is a former two-time First Team All Big Ten and All American linebacker. It wasn’t until Winovich really took an understanding of his role as a “down-linebacker” (similar to an end) that he started turning the heads of NFL scouts. In Winovich’s senior season at Michigan, he totaled 73 total tackles and 8.5 sacks.
Winovich is versatile enough to play both up and down for the Patriots. In a limited role this season, he has impressed many around the organization, as his motor is seemingly never-ending. Chase has been grabbing attention from the fans for his upbeat attitude and life approach (I think his cool hairstyle probably plays into it a bit, too). He has a nose for the ball and seems to make the right plays and decisions every time he gets his opportunity.
Every time we see Winovich enter the game, he is making an impactful play. Pro Football Focus ranked Winovich the third-best rookie in the league after an impressive preseason. Having the depth of Winovich was also probably a key factor in the Patriots cutting ties with defensive end Michael Bennett.
So far this season, Winovich has been one of the more reliable guys to throw into the game on third down to make a play. He has accumulated 10 tackles and 4.5 sacks to date, as well as a touchdown that he scored off of a blocked-punt against the New York Giants.
Winovich’s style will allow the Patriots to use him in many different schemes and packages during his time here in New England. He’s quick, strong, and has a real nice understanding of how to play great defensive football… something Bill Belichick admires about his players.
During the course of a season, there are always unexpected variables that come into play. With that being said, it’ll be interesting to see if Winovich’s role changes as the season progresses. Will we see him play up in the linebacker position, or will he always be on the ground?
When I see Winovich play, especially at the end of the defensive line, I see glimpses of what I think could be a modern-day Chris Long. Like Long, Winovich is versatile and carries a different kind of element with him to the field. He has a keen ability to protect and set the edge, while also being able to rush the quarterback.
As Chase Winovich carves a role for himself in this defense, it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch him play football here with the New England Patriots. He looks like he’s already built a foundation for a long and productive career with the team.