The New England Patriots had a strong collection of 2019 draft picks, but not the best.
That’s what NFL.com believes, at least.
Writers Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr recently put together their 2019 NFL Draft class power rankings, with New England coming in at No. 4. The Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans, respectively, ranked higher than the Patriots, who were one of seven teams to receive an “A” grade.
Filice and Parr were pretty high on New England’s first five picks of the draft, but one fifth-round pick and a surprising decision by Bill Belichick and Co. appear to have affected the Patriots’ standing in the rankings.
BREAKING: Bill Belichick knows how to collect talent. He did as fine a job of it as anyone in the 2019 draft, entering with a league-high 12 selections and leaving with 10 picks that are hard to quarrel with (… although we will in a second, because we don’t take the easy way out here). Harry isn’t the fastest or most explosive receiver, but he is a big, physical target who can be a go-to guy on third down and in the red zone. The team needed that in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement. Gil Brandt called him a Michael Irvin type, and the former Cowboys executive drafted Irvin back in ’88. He knows of what he speaks. However, the real work of art by New England in this draft lies in how it navigated the board for its next couple of picks. The Pats traded up to land a CB with rare size in Williams, and somehow Winovich fell into their lap in Round 3. Harris is a really solid addition who can pick up tough yards, catch the ball and pass-protect. Dante Scarnecchia will probably develop Cajuste into an All-Pro. Now, as for the quarreling — they didn’t pick a tight end, which was not surprising (it’s so Belichick to not address the position that seems to be in such obvious need of addressing). However, it leaves the team with the rag-tag group of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Stephen Anderson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo on the depth chart. Also, it’s not always advisable to spend a pick on a punter, but we’ll give New England the benefit of the doubt with the Bailey selection.
The Patriots obviously think very highly of Stanford punter Jake Bailey, who will have the opportunity to win the starting job in training camp and the preseason. Even if he doesn’t, the new contract veteran punter Ryan Allen signed back in March only is for one year.
As far as not drafting a tight end goes, New England still could bolster its depth at the position via trade, potentially with the Minnesota Vikings for Kyle Rudolph.
The reigning Super Bowl champs addressed the majority of their needs through the draft, leaving them in pretty good standing as we inch toward the 2019 campaign.