Well, here we are the 2022 NFL Draft is now behind us. Many teams believe they got players that can contribute to a winning team. New England is no different. However, with the controversial draft class of the year, did The Patriots improve?
This will be discussing players only, we will have another article that goes into the moves New England made. This will be focused on the draft class.
Cole Strange, G, Chattanooga
Around 90% of the public was in an uproar. Count me among them with my initial reaction. Seriously though a guard in the first round is a tough value already. Especially when the need was created because of cap numbers.
Regardless of the value, Strange was a safe pick. He should be able to come in and start right away. Cole also had an incredible Relative Athletic Score coming in at 9.95/10, with his huge frame this is impressive. Having great hands, balance, and footwork Strange is a technician.
One thing he really needs to work on is his play strength, he is susceptible to the bullnose.
Well, this isn’t the pick we as a fanbase expected, Cole Strange is a Patriot and he is responsible for keeping the franchise standing upright in the pocket.
It Filled an area of need with the best guard available, he may not have been the best player available but he will be a day one contributor.
A deeper look at Cole Strange.
Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
All off-season I have begged this team to gain more speed on both sides of the ball. They address that need on Friday by picking Tyquan Thornton with the 50th overall selection. He is the fastest receiver in this draft class, he ran a 4.28 40-yard dash.
Just like with the first pick much of the fan base is upset with it. That’s just cause they didn’t have them taking him. It probably was a reach but the receivers were flying, and they wanted their highest-ranked one on the board.
Tyquan Thornton is more than just a straight-line runner, he has the strong body control and a large frame at almost 6’3. Thornton could benefit from adding some weight so he can combat press-man coverage. He has hand size concerns but he still has the ability to catch away from his body.
He can come in right away and challenge Agholor for that field-stretching role. He can be very effective in play-action crossers and drags.
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
The Patriots clearly came into this draft wanting to acquire more speed. Jones is a smaller-frame CB but he has a knack for finding the ball in the air. He will help to stop teams from running crossers and slants. He can eat up space and has a strong recovery speed.
A big problem in that Buffalo playoff dismantlement was Myles Bryant was getting roasted. This is the selection that stops him from being in the game that much. Marcus Jones may be one of the best special teams players in the draft class as well.
Jones definitely has a frame issue that he won’t be able to do much about. He does have strong hands and a compact play style that protects him from some of these issues. He is one of the nation’s most versatile defensive backs. However, Jones would thrive in a slot corner role.
I can’t stress enough that this player makes the defense faster sideline to sideline. For an in-depth look at Marcus Jones check out his Player Profile
Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
Jack Jones is a very instinctive player who can hawk the ball, he is less imposing physically coming out of school, but there is a little height to his frame to be able to add some weight. This is really exposing how New England feels about its depth at CB. They do not want Myles Bryant on the field
He could’ve gone a bit earlier in this draft class but he had some off-the-field issues. Other than that he shares some of the same traits as JC Jackson. Definitely needs to be coached up but the similarities are there, which is why they met with the player three different times.
With New England looking to play in more sub-packages they neglected to take linebackers and took two more defensive backs. This signals they are trying to get faster on defense. At worse, they have more depth, best case they have another J.C Jackson.
Pierre Strong Jr, RB, South Dakota State
The Patriots clearly wanted to get faster and more athletic. So they drafted the fasted RB in the whole draft class. Pierre Strong Jr ran a 4.38 40-yard dash Strong has great contact balance and quick feet, that pair well with his great vision and explosiveness.
This player basically reminds me of a stockier Dion Lewis, he has a strong jump cut and then bursts from that cut through the second-level defenders. Strong also doesn’t back away from pass protection and has soft hands, this very well could be the heir to James White’s throne.
Strong was a beast in college he register over 20 carries for 20 or more yards. He is a threat to take any run to the house and should fill into the running back room quite nicely.
Pierre Strong Jr Member Of Patriots Draft Class
Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
This was the perfect draft class for a back up.
Any Patriots fan that is worried about Mac Jones’ job security needs to get their mental health evaluated. Brain Hoyer is turning 37 next year and Jarret Stidham is entering a contract year. Bailey Zappe is a smaller version of Mac Jones, he is predicated on timing and accuracy.
His strengths come from above the shoulders which makes him a great addition to the room. He and Mac Jones can help each other learn and grow. I also believe that Zappe is better competition for Mac than either guy in the room currently.
He doesn’t have the body to make as a starter, perfect competition for Mac.
Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
Damien Harris is on a contract year, Kevin Harris was drafted to push him even more. He gives us some flexiblity and long term depth at the positon.
Kevin Harris has shown Carlos Hyde qualities, he is a hammer type of runner. He has solid vision and enough speed to break out of the first level of blockers. He likes to finish off his runs with contact.
A major issue with Harris however is his health, having a major back surgery already before his pro career has even started. Especially for a contact runner back problems are a big red flag. A healthy verison of this player could threathen Damien Harris and possibliy make him expenedable.
Sixth round running backs typically arent roster locks for any draft class. However Harris has a good as a shot as any.
Sam Roberts, DL, Northwest Missouri State
Sam Roberts could be a diamond in the rough for this draft class. He won the Cliff Harris award which goes to the best defesive player from small colleges. This is the same away that was granted to Kyle Dugger who was good enough to be a round two pick.
Roberts is a 6’5 280 pound defensive tackle who would fit as a defensive end in the patriots 4-3 scheme. I have heard him be compared to Deatrich Wise but with more pass rush abilities. Sam has long and heavy arms that he can use to club his blocker out of the way.
He has also blocked five field goals on special teams. This is a guy who loves The Patriots and has a hard work ethic. He could be a productive player for the team.
Chasen Hines, G, LSU
This is the prototypical Patriots late round lineman. When he was on the field for LSU he is moving people all over the line of scrimmage. He has the size and strength to be a plus guard in the NFL.
Chasen’s biggest problem is simply staying on the field. He has had a history of missing time. Hines wouldve been a top 100 pick if he came out of school during the LSU playoff run but , the next season he came in over weight and it hurt his abilities.
His problems are coachable, his size and instinct can’t be. This is one of the more value piks in the draft class
Andrew Stueber, OL, Michigan
Stueber was the last pick in New Englands draft class but he has a chance to make the roster, In my opinion he could be the next James Ferenetz. A valuable plug and play guy at any of the oline postions. He can play tackle for some time but he could find a starting level job at guard one day.
Another very solid day three selection, filling depth and need with some future upside.
Value was a real problem in this draft class as far as grading it. I will say I believe The Patriots picked some players who could contribute one this team day one. My final grade would be a C+, with room for improvement depending on how Strange and Thornton pan out.
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