Patriots NFL Draft Roundup: What Eight Experts Graded New England’s Picks

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April 26, 2020

The 2020 NFL Draft grades are out, including those of the 10 selections made by the New England Patriots.

It seems experts are mostly in agreement when it came to head coach Bill Belichick’s selections. Of course, some still find it strange New England didn’t draft a quarterback, while others saw the organization’s Draft Day trades and spending high picks on defensive talent as a step in the right direction.

Here’s how eight different outlets graded the Patriots’ 2020 NFL Draft class:

NFL.com’s draft analyst Chad Reuter

Draft Grade: B

Bill Belichick and his dog understood the team’s needs on the edge, in the secondary and at tight end. Not everyone agreed with the value of the tight ends selected, but their versatility and athleticism may ultimately shine through. Belichick is not afraid to stray from the consensus board a bit, taking Rohrwasser in the fifth round. Sometimes those picks work out for the Patriots; other times, they do not. Time will tell. Onwenu, Herron and Woodard are solid picks late in the draft; one or both will start down the line. Wide receiver is still a major need.

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit

Draft Grade: C-plus

As usual, most of New England?s picks were spent with the future in mind. Kyle Dugger is a bit of a head-scratcher for the simple reason that the Patriots entered this draft with four quality safeties already… But few teams have made better use of diverse secondary talent, which is precisely what Dugger brings. He doesn?t fill a need, but there is no question he fits the scheme.

Just in (Josh) Uche doesn?t deliver, there?s Jennings. You can afford to draft for depth when you have over a dozen picks. … On offense, to fill the still-enormous void left by Rob Gronkowski?s retirement (or his recent trade?either way), Bill Belichick drafted two tight ends just 10 picks apart, though the men could end up playing totally different roles.

Pro Football Focus

Draft Grade: B

The Patriots had a busy (Day 2) with five draft picks and started it off by taking the uber-athletic and explosive safety Kyle Dugger. In playing for Lenoir-Rhyne and going up against lower-level competition, Dugger is a huge unknown, as he dominated just because of his unreal athleticism as opposed to reading in coverage. … 

Josh Uche and the New England Patriots are one of the perfect prospect-team marriages we saw. … New England?s other three picks on Day 2 were a bit of a surprise and a lot higher than where we would have slotted them.

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer

Draft Grade: B-plus

The Patriots always start with a high floor because of Bill Belichick?s ability to know when to stockpile picks. Defensively, they loaded up on ideal versatile players in Dugger, Uche and Jennings for needs. Overhauling tight end made sense, but maybe not as much in terms of trading up and taking those two players vs. others at the position. Rohrwasser was absolutely needed for the kicking game. One can?t ignore, however, the lack of a quarterback to compete with Jarrett Stidham.

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SB Nation’s Dan Kadar

Draft Grade: B

The Patriots then took a pair of versatile edge players, with Josh Uche in the second round and Anfernee Jennings in the third round. They?re players who can line up at linebacker, standing up at the edge, or with their hand down. This is how the Patriots replace Kyle Van Noy.

Those two picks were followed by two tight ends, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. New England?s need at tight end last season was obvious, and these two fill that hole. The Patriots also found a replacement for kicker Stephen Gostkowski and drafted three offensive linemen.

This was an extremely Belichick draft. The big problem is no quarterback.

New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy

Draft Grade: C-plus

Traded out of the first round, as usual, and doubled up on outside linebacker and tight end with five second- and third-round picks. Strange. No quarterback is even stranger.

USA Today’s Nate Davis

Draft Grade: B

Bill Belichick’s first post-Brady group felt solid, five players obtained Friday in the second and third rounds. Round 2 (safety) Kyle Dugger and Round 3 (tight end) Devin Asiasi might be steals. And given they passed on Jordan Love and apparently made no bid for a QB near the top of the draft, should say something about how they feel about apparent Brady successor Jarrett Stidham. One question: Really necessary to spend a fifth-rounder on a kicker from Marshall?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper

Draft Grade: C-plus

My biggest issue with this class is no quarterback; the Patriots passed on Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm throughout. I?m not sold that 2019 fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham should be the unquestioned starter. I could look silly in a couple of weeks when the Pats trade for Andy Dalton or sign Cam Newton, but this is a whiff for me.

Obviously, draft grades less than 24 hours after the draft ended need to be taken for what they’re worth. That said, it’s still good to see consistency in how experts feel the Patriots drafted.

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