In true Patriots fashion, they had their hands all over day two of the NFL draft. Whether it be picking a player from division two, trading up twice or doubling up on TE’s and OLB’s, it’s safe to say it was a wild night for Pats fans.
The Patriots made five selections on day two of the NFL Draft:
- Round 2 – Pick 37 (From LAC): S Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
- Round 2 – Pick 60 (From BAL): EDGE Joshua Uche, Michigan
- Round 3 – Pick 87: EDGE Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
- Round 3 – Pick 91(From LVR): TE Devin Asiasi, UCLA
- Round 3 – Pick 101 (From NYJ): TE Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
The players the Patriots selected were interesting in their own right, but what those picks told us about the state of the franchise were much more revealing.
Here are my biggest takeaways from the Patriots day two selections.
Jarrett Stidham is on the fast-track to start this season
A lot of the pre-day two hype was centered around which one of their five picks would be used on a quarterback? Well, the Patriots all but silenced those rumblings by not only not taking a quarterback, but trading up two times and passing on QB both of those times. With big names like Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm falling out of round two, not taking a QB is pretty significant. If the Patriots had a guy that they really liked at QB that they thought could compete with Stidham, they would’ve taken him already.
Now, this isn’t me saying they’re not drafting a QB at all, they won’t go into 2020 with just Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said that they are going to have a third quarterback on their roster before the season starts. However, the fact that there isn’t one already is very revealing and good news for fellow Jarrett Stidham truthers.
Joe Thuney part of the Patriots future?
One thing most of us thought was going to happen at some point tonight was Joe Thuney getting traded. The Patriots currently don’t have enough cap space (around 1.1M) to sign their entire draft class (they need around 1.8 million) and Thuney carries a 14.8 million cap hit this year after being stamped with the franchise tag. The two sides have been reported to “not be close” on an extension, so the thought was the Patriots would trade him for a second or third round pick in this years draft instead of just losing him after the season for nothing. As of right now, Thuney is still on the roster. This doesn’t mean he can’t get traded tomorrow, but any bundle of picks on day three of the draft is significantly less compensation than a player of Thuney’s caliber is worth.
Tough to gauge exactly where the Patriots and Thuney stand on an extension at this point, but not being traded at any point tonight is a step in the right direction.
SS Patrick Chung an early trade/cut candidate for 2020 season
If their offseason moves are any indication, Chung might not be a part of the Patriots in 2020. The signing of Adrian Phillips in the offseason and tonights selection of Kyle Dugger, it seems the Patriots are quite redundant at the SS position. The Patriots can save around 2 million in cap savings if they release or trade Chung by the June 1st deadline, which they desperately need – especially if they plan on keeping Thuney on board this year. The 32 year-old safety has been fantastic for New England but has battled injuries in the past few seasons. He still has some juice left in him, so there could be a market for him.
This will be a storyline to watch tomorrow to see if the Patriots can find a suitor for Chung for some late picks.
TE’s Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo likely to be cut
It’s no secret that both of these guys weren’t in the Patriots long-term plans at tight end, but if their last two selections in round three were any indication, those two guys are on their way out. Trading up for not one but TWO tight ends in the third round says all you need to know about how the Patriots view LaCosse and Izzo. Not to mention newly-signed fullback Danny Vitale can play some H-Back and tight end as well.
Hope those guys can land on their feet and wish them well, but it appears the Patriots are going in a different direction.
The Patriots are banking on big leaps from WR’s N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers
Much like the QB situation aforementioned with Stidham, the Patriots had multiple picks and didn’t view the receiver position as a huge need on day two. This doesn’t eliminate the prospect of taking a receiver at some point tomorrow, but if they were genuinely worried about the position they would have taken one as a couple of big names slid down the board.
The rookie years from both Meyers and Harry are more or less apparitions as they were thrown into the fire after a slew of injuries and other things knocked out some of the Patriots primary options at the position. Rookie receivers don’t generally play meaningful snaps under Belichick, but these ones were forced to. What you saw isn’t their final product, but it’s clear the Pats expect improvements on that end.
While the Patriots tend to move sporadically and don’t really have any rhyme of reason as to what they do, these are some conclusions to come to from their moves today.
Follow my Twitter for full Patriots draft coverage tomorrow, and tune in next week for my, “Meet the Rookies” articles where I go in depth on introducing each draft pick and what they bring to the team.
Overall happy with the Patriots draft picks on day two – addressed some key offseason losses (Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy) with the Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings picks, and took a shot at improving the TE position with Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi. Drafted a moldable safety for the future in Kyle Dugger. All in all, solid picks. Ready to finish this draft off with rounds 4-7 tomorrow.