The New England Patriots have a history of turning players who slipped in the NFL draft into household names.

Unfortunately for the rest of the league, NFL.com believes that trend is primed to continue.

The site recently issued draft grades for all four AFC East teams, with the Patriots landing an “A” grade. Writer Dan Parr also believes New England landed the most surprising pick in the division when it nabbed Chase Winovich with the 77th overall pick.

“It’s not a surprise that the Patriots took him midway through the third round,” Parr writes. “It is a surprise that the rest of the league’s teams let it happen. We’re talking about Chase Winovich here, the high-motor guy with the golden locks who always seems to be in the right spot. He was No. 48 in NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s ranking of the draft’s top 100 players, yet somehow he fell into New England’s lap with the 77th overall pick. He’s one of the biggest steals of the draft. Here’s another guy who doesn’t have ideal size and seems to have been punished for it in the draft. He’ll make teams regret passing him up. The rich get richer in New England.”

Aside from filling a need on the defensive line, it’s starting to seem like Winovich was born to be a Patriot. The Michigan product, as evidenced by a multitude of entertaining soundbites, has an intense passion for football, which certainly must have been of great appeal to head coach Bill Belichick. The talented pass rusher will come to Foxboro ready to work, and he could be an impact player for the Patriots from Day 1.

As such, Winovich could wind up proving to be a relative theft by New England. But if you ask former NFL wideout Nate Burleson, the Patriots’ next pick after Winovich is poised to be an even bigger steal.

Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images