The 2019 Draft has come and gone, but things are just getting started for the newest members of the New England Patriots. The Patriots picked up 10 new guys over the weekend, and Patriots.com is helping Patriots fans get to know the new players off the field.
Damien Harris is a running back out of Alabama, and in a word, he is dedicated. When Damien was 7 years old, he had a 104 degree fever the day of his little league Super Bowl. Instead of sitting out the game, Damien played, and not only did he play well, he scored a 104-yard touchdown. How's that for symmetry?
That commitment goes beyond the football field, too. One of Damien's professors shared an awesome Twitter thread about how he set an example as a model student. In an Instagram post, he said that graduating from Alabama was his "greatest accomplishment to date."
Yodny Cajuste was picked up with the 101st pick, and the offensive lineman is likely the only one by his name. Yodny said he thinks he's the only one in the world. His mother made the name up, he told The Dominion Post.
Outside of his unique name, Yodny had an interesting journey to football. He didn't start playing until his senior year of high school. Until then, Yodny had dedicated his time to basketball, and he was dead-set on becoming the next Kobe Bryant. One year of football was enough to earn him a spot on a Division I team at West Virginia.
"Basketball was my first love. I love football a whole lot. I can’t express how much I love football," Yodny told The Dominion Post. "This is my fifth year playing football, I grew to love it more and more each and every year. There’s no ceiling as to how much I love this game right now."
Hjalte Froholdt comes to the Patriots from Arkansas by way of Denmark. In fact, he was the first Danish player to be invited to the combine. Hjalte, pronounced Yell-duh, came to the United States as an exchange student and played football in his sophomore year to make friends. When his year as an exchange student was over, Hjalte enrolled in a boarding school in the U.S. to continue living abroad.
Not only is Hjalte joining the defending Super Bowl champions, he was there to witness the team's win in person. He was in Atlanta broadcasting Super Bowl LIII as a member of the Danish media. He'll reunite with his former teammate Deatrich Wise Jr. in New England.
Jarrett Stidham, a quarterback out of Auburn, was selected with the Patriots 133rd overall pick. After transferring to Auburn University, he led the Tigers to victory over both Georgia and Alabama. When Auburn faced off against Alabama in the 2017 Iron Bowl, Jarrett faced off against a former Pop Warner football teammate: Damien Harris. Yes, that means the two will reunite as New England Patriots.
Though they played together in Kentucky, Jarrett claims Stephenville, Texas, as home. When he was 18, he moved in with the Copeland family, who took him in as his legal guardians. Jarrett also proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kennedy Brown, a Baylor soccer player and daughter Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown.
While Jarrett transferred to Auburn, defensive lineman Byron Cowart transferred to Maryland from Auburn. Byron grew up with his mother, Lacoria Wilson, who worked two back-to-back shifts from 2 p.m. to 7 a.m. as a certified nursing assistant, and her hard work to provide for her son didn't go unnoticed. It inspired Byron.
"It was kind of hard growing up. I wouldn't see her for days because of her work schedule," Byron told Yahoo Sports in 2015. "I knew it was a constant grind for her, but that made me think, 'If she's grinding, I can grind, too.'"
A right-footed punter out of Stanford, Jake Bailey is coming to the East Coast as a new member of the Patriots. Though he was recruited elsewhere as a kicker, Stanford was the only school to recruit him as a punter. According to SFGate.com, as of 2016, Jake was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and training for his pilot's license.
The Patriots final pick of the 2019 Draft brought Ken Webster to New England from Ole Miss. Ken is a brother of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and was involved with the Boys and Girls Club while in school.
Though he suffered a season-ending knee injury, missing the entire 2016 season, Ken worked hard to come back strong.
"I think you always have some concerns when a guy comes back from injury. But when you're sitting there in fall camp and you're asking our receivers who the best corner is, they all say Ken," Old Miss head coach Matt Luke told The Clarion Ledger.
Draft weekend may be over, but the journey is just getting started for the Patriots draft picks. Welcome to New England, gentlemen.