The Patriots always manage to find hidden gems within draft classes, and it appears this year is no different.
Plenty of rookies have shined for New England throughout training camp and the team’s first two preseason matchups. Pro Football Focus recognized this in its rankings of the NFL’s top rookies through the first two weeks of the preseason.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham (No. 3) and guard Hjalte Froholdt (No. 9) made the offensive top 10, but wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has been the most impressive rookie so far, hands down. The N.C. State product came in at No. 1 on PFF’s list. Here’s what they had to say:
“Few have been as high on Meyers as PFF has over the past few months, which is primarily a result of his contested-catch ability as well as his collegiate progression. The undrafted rookie from NC State earned an 82.5 overall grade last year, 37th among wide receivers while his 86.2 receiving grade pitted him at No. 21, seven spots behind his now-teammate N’Keal Harry. In eight of his 11 regular-season games last year, he saw double-digit targets, earning 80.0-plus grades in four them. Meyers has always been up for the challenge and working with the Patriots first team in training camp appears to be just another stepping stone on his inevitable path to success at the next level.”
Chase Winovich was ranked as the NFL’s second best defensive rookie with a grade of 92.5. Similar to many around the league, this analysis had great things to say about the Michigan product.
“So far this preseason, Winovich has rushed the passer on 40 occasions which have resulted in three sacks, one hit, and six hurries. There were also an additional five plays where he beat his blocker only to see the quarterback attempt the pass before he could have recorded a pressure. Excluding his one unblocked pressure, Winovich beat a blocker on 16 of his 40 pass-rushing snaps, leading to a whopping win rate of 40.0%. The rookie edge defender will compete with Deatrich Wise Jr. and Michael Bennett for snaps in 2019.”
Yes, it’s easy to fall into a hometown bias with young prospects, but it appears to be a league-wide feeling that New England made out like bandits in this year’s draft.
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