A day after snagging bigger-bodied receiver N’Keal Harry in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night, New England got back to work making four of trades while adding four more prospects to the roster during Friday night’s second and third rounds.
While receiver was an obvious need, the selection of uniquely-tall Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams with the 45th overall selection added to an already well-stocked New England secondary. That depth pick was followed up by targeting another clear need with the choice of Michigan productive edge presence Chase Winovich at No. 77 overall. The pick of Alabama power running back Damien Harris with the 87th selection was more of an early depth selection a year after the Patriots took another SEC runner in 2018 first-round pick Sony Michel. New England then closed out the second day of draft action by targeting the sneaky need of a developmental tackle in West Virginia’s Yodney Cajuste.
With two days of draft action, a slew of trades and five prospects added to the Patriots roster, New England heads into Saturday’s fourth-through-seventh rounds with seven more selections yet to make. Top needs like receiver and the defensive edge have been addressed, but there are some other areas that could still use some youthful talent even if in the latter stages of the process.
Though third-day picks are far from roster locks or high-end prospects, New England could still look for help at tight end, quarterback, safety, linebacker or even punter in Saturday’s draft action. Here are some of the best remaining prospects who might suit the Patriots needs as the 2019 NFL Draft winds down.
LSU’s Foster Moreau, Boston College’s Tommy Sweeny, Stanford’s Kaden Smith, Georgia’s Isaac Nauta: Clearly the top, most NFL-ready tight ends are long off the board. And Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the team is “comfortable” with the players currently on the New England tight end depth chart. If the team doesn’t swing a trade – speculation of a deal for Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph grew after the Vikings drafted Irv Smith on Friday – one of these late-round options could still be in line for a call.
N.C. State’s Ryan Finley, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson: The Patriots did a lot of work on quarterback prospects leading up to the draft. If the team is going to put that research to use Stidham might be the most likely day 3 pick.
Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Iowa’s Amani Hooker, Alabama’s Deionte Thompson: If Bill Belichick looks to add a young safety to develop with an eye on the future to replace the likes of aging veterans Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty it’s interesting that two of the top remaining players come from schools run by his former assistant coaches.
Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky, Stanford’s Jake Bailey: A year ago New England had Corey Bojorquez in camp to compete with Ryan Allen. Bojorquez was claimed by the Bills at the end of camp. Even though Allen re-signed with the Patriots this offseason, bringing in another punter to compete is a real possibility. With seven picks remaining on day 3, Belichick could consider using one on a developmental specialist.