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'22 Draft Day 3: Patriots pick up seven more rookies

Recapping what the Patriots did during Rounds 4 through 7 of the 2022 NFL Draft.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Following two consecutive days in which they traded some picks, the Patriots made no deals Saturday, the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft. New England kept all seven of its choices, adding players on both sides of the football.

The afternoon began with the fourth-round selection (121st overall) of Arizona State cornerback Jack Jones (5-10, 175). Even though he'd met with the club several times throughout the pre-draft process, Jones told reporters that he was shocked when he got the call Saturday from New England.

"I was just, I was happy. I was lost for words … It was a blessing, to have my family here to be around and experience this moment with me, but now that I know what team I'm playing for, [I need to] just go out there and give it my all and try to make the team. I'm going to control what I can control going forward. I'm looking to be the best teammate I could be and help the Patriots out anywhere that I can."

A few picks later, at 127th overall, New England went with the first of two running backs, Pierre Strong (5-11, 205) from South Dakota State. The Patriots typically carry several running backs on their active roster, a fact not lost on the newest one.

"I've seen Damien Harris run the ball," Strong remarked, "and I like the downhill running about the guys. They're going to run the ball, you might know it's coming, but you can't stop it. So, I'm just ready to get to work with the guys. I feel like I complement them very well. Wherever New England needs me to play, that's what I'm going to do. Anything they need me to do, that's what I'm going to do. That's the type of person and player I am."

Round 4 concluded for New England when the Patriots chose Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe (6-1, 220) at 137th overall. The Texas native realizes he'll be a supporting role player at his position and sounded thrilled just to have the chance to compete alongside incumbent starter Mac Jones.

"There's a lot of room [for me] to grow. Being a part of this organization," said Zappe, "there are going to be opportunities for me to get to that point and develop as a QB. I love the game of football, I love learning about the game, working on accuracy, ball placement ... Being a part of this organization, I'll be able to learn from so many coaches and players. I am excited to get in the QB room and get to work with them."

Normally, the Patriots prefer not to go an entire round without making a selection, but that's what they were forced to do throughout Round 5, where they had no picks. However, Round 6 saw New England choose three players, starting with their second running back of the day. With the 183rd overall pick, Kevin Harris of South Carolina (5-10, 220) joined the Patriots' ball carrier committee.

The Patriots went next to the trenches. At 200th overall, they chose Northwest Missouri State defensive lineman Sam Roberts (6-5, 290). Ten spots later, LSU's Chasen Hines (6-3, 350) became the newest Patriots offensive lineman. University of Michigan offensive tackle Andrew Stueber – a 6-7, 325-pound Connecticut native – became the final Patriots pick, at 245th overall in Round 7.

"I was a Patriots fan growing up," Stueber said Saturday evening after being selected. "They were always such a dominant team, and they played football with just such passion. It was such a great team to watch growing up. So, I'm happy where I am. I've loved the Patriots organization and their team throughout my whole childhood growing up and everything, and I'm really excited to get there and start working."

Patriots player personnel director Matt Groh echoed those sentiments when speaking to reporters about New England's 2022 draft class as a whole. "Really excited to add these seven young men to the team today," he began. "These rookies, their immediate impact so many times is going to come on 4th down, in the kicking game, on special teams. All the rookies coming in have to be ready to strap it up on 4th down."

With the 2022 NFL Draft now complete, the Patriots will turn their immediate attention next to signing several undrafted rookies to fill out their 90-man roster. Most of those agreements are usually reached within a day or two of the draft's conclusion. Over the coming days and weeks, most of these new players will arrive in Foxborough for orientation and rookie minicamp before joining the rest of the squad for on-field practices in May and June.

"The team is still such a work-in-progress right now. We've had some needs and tried to address those needs ... We're still putting the team together," Groh pointed out. "We're still working through college free agents right now. We'll keep working, trying to find ways to make this team better."

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