Round 5 - pick #144: Atonio Mafi
In the fifth round, the Patriots went back to the well at guard, selecting Atonio Mafi from UCLA. Mafi is a big body inside, and while the tackle need remained unanswered, that notwithstanding, building up the guard depth with huge guys like Sow and Mafi is a solid investment in the future of the interior offensive line.
Mafi played in all 17 games, started five, and logged 459 offenive snaps, or 44% of the Pats' total. He's slotted right into the left guard slot after Cole Strange's injury. The offensive line has generally performed poorly, especially but not exclusively at the tackle position. Yet, gaining playing experience as Mafi and Sow have this season at guard can only help in the future. Mafi gains a grade of C+.
Round 6 - pick #187: Kayshon Boutte
In the sixth round, the Patriots had three picks. They first selected Kayshon Boutte, a formerly highly touted wide receiver from LSU. Like most sixth-rounders (although the Patriots seem to draft well at that position for some odd reason), he's made little impact in his few appearances.
Boutte played in five games with a meager two catches for 19 yards. He has essentially contributed nothing to the team this season. He has to be looked upon as the Patriots' taking a flier on a guy in the sixth round who might have potential, which is precisely where they should draft such a player. Unfortunately, it never materialized for Boutte. He gets a grade of D-.
Round 6 - pick #192: Bryce Baringer
The Patriots' second sixth-round pick was a sound one. They selected punter Bryce Baringer from Michigan State, which is exactly where a team should choose a punter. Additionally, contrary to the aforementioned kicker Ryland's experience, Baringer has been a solid addition.
Baringer punted 98 times garnering a respectable 46.9 yards per punt. He also had a long punt of 79 yards. As with most punters, he also handled the holding function for Ryland as part of his duties. As disappointing as Ryland's season has been, Baringer's has been the opposite. He's been solid, consistent, and largely reliable. This earns the rookie a very nice and well-deserved A-/B+ grade. He's the Patriots' punter of the future, no matter who is in charge in 2024.