The Patriots have seen players leave in years past, but nothing like this offseason.
There has been something of an exodus out of Foxborough, Massachusetts, which could technically extend back to the 2019 offseason when many of New England’s assistant coaches jumped ship.
Life has been as good as possible for the Patriots over the last 20 years, but there are storm clouds looming on the horizon. An exciting 2020 NFL Draft class, however, would go a long way in staving off an almost inevitable downturn in life after Tom Brady.
New England's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 37: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
- No. 60: Joshua Uche, EDGE, Michigan
- No. 87: Anfernee Jennings, EDGE, Alabama
- No. 91: Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA
- No. 101: Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech
- No. 159: Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall
- No. 182: Michael Onwenu, IOL, Michigan
- No. 195: Justin Herron, OT, Wake Forest
- No. 204: Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming
- No. 230: Dustin Woodard, IOL, Memphis
Best Pick: Joshua Uche
Uche was almost universally liked as a rush prospect and a hybrid linebacker; getting to see him play in New England should be a treat. The Patriots move their pieces around to put them in the best position as often as any team in the league, which bodes well for Uche not just being an impactful defender but also for him being an impact defender sooner rather than later. Uche brings versatility, bend and explosiveness to the edge.
Biggest Surprise: No Quarterback
Coach Bill Belichick told us all exactly what he thought of this year's quarterback class, time and time again. The Patriots spat at the idea of drafting any passer not named Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert and traded out of a chance for Jordan Love (Packers) in the first round and again with Jacob Eason (Colts) and Jake Fromm (Bills). New England's QB room consists of Brian Hoyer and Jared Stidham and to see them scorn signal-callers completely was a surprise.
Day 3 Sleeper: Michael Onwenu
Onwenu was a terrific value at this point in the draft. He was one of the best performers at the 2020 East/West Shrine Bowl and commanded attention as an athletic big man who plays with terrific power. Consider him a viable starting candidate in the event that New England flips Joe Thuney in a salary dump at some point before the season.
X-Factor: Kyle Dugger
New England dropped from No. 23 to No. 37 in a pick swap with the Chargers before picking up Dugger early in the second round. Dugger will make or break this class as the headliner; this is a big bet and Dugger, with his small-school pedigree, has significant work ahead of him in order to be the high-value Swiss Army knife he's capable of being. He's got all the tools, the Patriots will need to put them all together and coach him up.
The Patriots did what the Patriots do. This team, with minimal draft assets at this disposal, traded back time and time again until the team suddenly had four top-100 selections and double-digit picks. This is a very Belichick play, but what makes this season's execution so interesting is where New England stands as a team. The Patriots lost Brady, significant defensive contributors and have minimal draft capital. This draft seems to signal an immediate future that is very run-heavy for New England.