Patriots Mailbag: Why Chase Winovich Should Generate Excitement In Year 2


January 24, 2020

It would be a good year for the New England Patriots to draft a wide receiver, even if it’s not in the first round for the second consecutive season.

The 2020 NFL Draft is thought to be loaded with wide receivers. The Patriots reportedly like SMU’s James Proche, who’s currently a projected fourth-rounder. And while the Patriots do have N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski, among others, under contract in 2020, they could still use some more youth and upside in the group.

One other name to keep in mind while the Senior Bown is ongoing: Dayton tight end Adam Trautman. He’s got good size and athleticism at 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, and he was uber-productive at the FCS level with 178 catches for 2,295 yards with 31 touchdowns in four seasons. He caught 70 passes for 916 yards with 14 touchdowns as a senior. It’s rare to see that kind of production from a college tight end these days. He’s also a willing blocker. Without a second-round pick, the Patriots would probably have to use their top selection on him. Otherwise, they’d have to hope he falls into the third round, which seems doubtful at this point.

Let’s get into this week’s mailbag:

which rookie should we be most excited about heading into year 2?
Chase Winovich. He was good as a rookie, and he should be even better in his second year with a bigger role.

Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins are free agents this offseason, and it seems unlikely both will be back. So, it would be unsurprising if Winovich has a starting role as an edge defender next season.

Winovich mostly was used as a pass rusher in 2019 with 81.8 percent of his snaps coming on passing downs. He was equally effective as a run defender during his time at Michigan, so he should be able to play on early downs in the NFL, as well.

WInovich finished fourth among qualified Patriots defenders in Pro Football Focus’ pass-rush productivity metric with 23 total pressures. He only finished behind Collins, Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower.

I believe N’Keal Harry should be better in Year 2, as well, but Winovich was extremely productive on limited snaps as a rookie. He’s got a bright future with the opportunity for a major role.

Will they bring in another kicker this year to challenge Ghost?
I believe they should and will. Stephen Gostkowski is getting up there in age, and hip injuries are no joke for a kicker. The Patriots are projected to have four sixth-round picks and three seventh-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Using one of those on a kicker would be smart, even if Gostkowski ultimately beats him out for a job.

The Patriots really had to scramble for a few kickers during the 2019 season. In an ideal situation, the Patriots would draft a kicker and then stash him on the practice squad. It’s likely if the Patriots draft a kicker and then waived him, he would get claimed, but it’s worth a try.

Team speed on the offensive side seems to be lacking with no running backs with breakaway speed or no receivers who can take the top off the defense. Do you think that will be addressed this off-season.
Not necessarily. I know teams like the Kansas City Chiefs have high powered offenses and a lot of speed, but the Patriots haven’t typically won on offense with burners. Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Troy Brown weren’t speed demons. Deion Branch ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash but didn’t really have track speed.

The fastest receivers they’ve had were Randy Moss, David Patten, Brandin Cooks, Phillip Dorsett and Donte Stallworth. They’ve never really had a super speedy running back. And a lot of the most effective receivers of the Bill Belichick-era, like Danny Amendola, David Givens, Chris Hogan and Brandon LaFell, weren’t breakaway players who could take the top off of the defense.

Tom Brady’s strength isn’t throwing the deep ball. Perhaps if someone like Jarrett Stidham took over at quarterback, then speed might be relied upon more heavily from skill players, but it feels kind of lazy to simply say the Patriots need more speed on offense.

Seems that everybody is focusing on Brady and WR?s as offseason concerns. What about the OL? That was the weakest positional grouping this year and likely to lose Thuney. Is this grouping due for a complete makeover? Anything to save?
Is there anything to save? This is going to be a long offseason if Patriots fans are going to be this dramatic.

Isaiah Wynn finished the season really well at left tackle and will be back in 2020. David Andrews is set to return at center. Shaq Mason is still one of the better right guards in football. Marcus Cannon is signed in 2020, though his salary cap hit is high at $8.9 million. He should return next season, however. I don’t expect Joe Thuney to return. If he doesn’t, the Patriots’ top options would be to re-sign Ted Karras, count on second-year pro Hjalte Froholdt or add another player at the position.

If Cannon doesn’t return at right tackle, then 2019 draft pick Yodny Cajuste potentially could fill in.

But as of now, it seems the Patriots only really have one spot to fill. The offensive line was playing well over the final three or four games of the season.

Let’s go rapid fire.

How many #Patriots players will be vultured by the dolphins ?

What is Zack Cox’ Three cone time ?

do tiny Birds and Forrest creatures come to your back yard when Olivia plays outside ?
— Definitely wouldn’t be shocked if Brian Flores signed some Patriots free agents away. It helps that they’d be moving to Miami.

— I’d bet Zack runs a 3-cone in around 7.2 seconds.

— Yes, but only when she wears her Snow White dress.

Out of Tua, Fromm and Herbert how would you rank the likeliness of the pats drafting one of those three (presumably trading up for Tua) if Brady leaves
1. Jake Fromm
2. Justin Herbert
3. Tua Tagovailoa

Why isnt wes welker the wrs coach for NE instead of niners? #maildoug
The Patriots simply don’t employ many former players as coaches. Also, Chad O’Shea was the Patriots’ wide receivers coach when Wes Welker got into coaching, and he was a good assistant.

#MailDoug how is it the Senior bowl practice have O vs D players going at each other but the combine is guys running free yet their stock rises bc of 40 time?
Players’ stock also rises at the Senior Bowl.

Latest Brady possible destination site is Tennessee. If Tennessee puts the franchise tag on Tannehill, do you think that eliminates them?
Yes. I can’t imagine a team trading for Ryan Tannehill if he’s franchised.

Will Gilmore be traded to avoid the cap hit, replenish draft pick stash?

Is it more likrly if Brady leaves (Rebuild)
If Brady stays (to be able to afford to pay Brady)

I don’t see any reason why Stephon Gilmore would be traded.

What are your offseason plans, Doug? Hopefully a little bit of a break before the combine!
I’ll be heading to the Super Bowl this Sunday to cover any and all Patriots angles. Then I’ll be home for a couple of weeks before heading to the NFL Scouting Combine. I’m staying busy even if the Patriots aren’t.

If you?re in charge, who do you pick, AJ? Coop? Or trade for OBJ? #MailDoug
Trade for Odell Beckham Jr.

With a couple of important names (D-Mac, Brady) set to hit the market, is it possible the Patriots go against the grain and sacrifice the middle class of the roster, making those late round picks more important? #MailDoug

If tom leaves who is the QB? #maildoug cause stidham wont cut it
How do we know Jarrett Stidham won’t cut it?

What is the craziest prediction you have for the offseason?
My boldest prediction would be Tom Brady signing with the Los Angeles Rams, not the Chargers. I don’t think it happens, but I wouldn’t be shocked.

Paper or plastic? #MailDoug
I like the paper bags with the handles like they have at Trader Joe’s. Why did paper bags ever not have handles? How did people carry non-handled paper bags and children?

One of my greatest accomplishments as a father is when I’m able to carry a backpack, a diaper bag, a 2-year-old and grocery bags.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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