Patriots 2020 draft at least landed two starters
The Patriots’ 2020 draft was somewhat better. The team hit on its first pick in the second round: safety Kyle Dugger, who is a solid player. Then, the Pats’ brass selected Josh Uche in the second round. Views are mixed on Uche, but he’s basically been a flop. He has only played in 21 games out of 33 during that time and he’s notched only four sacks in two years. The hype is unwarranted.
Now let’s talk about the abominable 2020 third round. All three third-round picks have been complete washouts. Linebacker Anfernee Jennings and two tight ends, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, have hardly played at all. Jennings has played in only 14 games in his two seasons with only 20 total tackles and no sacks.
The two tight ends who were supposed to fill in the gap after Rob Gronkowski retired, well, haven’t. Keene has played six games total in his two seasons with five catches. Asiasi has played in 10 games with seven receptions and a touchdown. That’s 12 receptions between two third-round tight ends. “Dismal” is too weak a word for those picks and performances.
The team did hit big on sixth-round guard Michael Onwenu, who started most of his first two seasons. He was misplayed at guard by the coaching staff early in 2021 for several games after Trent Brown went out and it cost the team heavily. Also, Justin Herron has played some, but he’s nowhere near a starting-caliber NFL offensive tackle.
So that’s it. The lay of the draft land for the four seasons prior to the breakout 2021 draft. It’s not a pretty story. If anything, Mr. Kraft overrated those drafts. “Pitiful” isn’t too strong a word for them and 98.5 The Sports Hub radio’s Felger and Mazz might’ve done better with their “throw a tomato at the draft board” style.
And the Patriots’ final grade for the 2017-2020 drafts is …
So, to grade those four drafts in sum, it’s difficult to assign anything better than a D, and that’s a weak D at that. They were routinely terrible and they have contributed significantly to the team’s drop-off since Brady’s departure. As noted, he’s no longer around to pick up the pieces of this team’s routinely atrocious personnel decision-making, especially in past drafts.
So, thank you, Mr. Kraft. Your words last season seemed to light a fire under the football guys. However, it’s worth noting that Dave Ziegler, last season’s Director of Player Personnel, has left for sandier pastures in Las Vegas with Josh McDaniels. That’s not a good omen.
Hopefully, the 2022 draft will be another A+++ one, following a similarly successful 2021 version. The team has numerous needs to fill. But after a lackluster free agency this offseason, please forgive those of us who aren’t optimistic that 2022 will deliver another winning draft.
Yet, as they say, hope springs eternal, especially for Patriots fans and the draft. We’ll have a better inkling later this month.