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What Would the Team Look Like if the Patriots Had Drafted …?, Morse’s Morsels

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
July 21, 2022 at 10:57 am ET

What Would the Team Look Like if the Patriots Had Drafted …?, Morse’s Morsels(PHOTO: David Kohl - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 7 minutes

With the trade of N’keal Harry and the resulting disaster of the 2019 draft, I thought it would be a fun exercise to look back and see the players I wanted the team to take based on the actual draft results.  The mistakes made in 2019 and subsequent years have resulted in having no cap space, making moves based upon low cap space and not just upon player performance.

2019 Draft Draftee Alternate Pick
1-32 N’Keal Harry Deebo Samuel
2-45 Joejuan Williams AJ Brown
3-77 Chase Winowich
4-87 Damien Harris
5-1101 Yodny Cajuste
6-118 Hjalte Froholdt Tony Pollard
4-133 Jarrett Stidham Foster Moreau
5-159 Byron Cowart
5-163 Jake Bailey
7-252 Ken Webster

Everyone agrees that Bill Belichick made a colossal mistake overriding his scouting staff and making the decision on his own (based on what?) to select N’Keal Harry.  Deebo Samuel was un-coverable and played in the SEC.  Every time I saw him play the opposing DB was at least 5 yards away from him.  I thought second-round pick Williams was an intriguing prospect with his combination of height and speed at CB.  Another bust.  We should have doubled up at WR with AJ Brown.  Hindsight on this move.  I didn’t have a high grade on Brown.  Every draft expert gave the Patriots kudos for taking Winowich.  He flashed his signature move, the speed rush, but that’s all he had.  He consistently ran passed the QB and couldn’t recover, taking himself out of the play and leaving his side of the field completely exposed.  Froholdt and Stidham were also mistakes.  Tony Pollard was a very good receiver out of the backfield for Memphis.  He had 104 receptions for 1292 yards and 9 TDs in his 4 years for the Tigers.  Moreau was a strong blocking TE at LSU with 52 career receptions.  Damien Harris needed a Red-Shirt year to learn the offense and get acclimated to the NFL.  That ate a whole year of his 4-year contract.  Now he is looking at Unrestricted Free Agency next year.  Because he is playing in his contract year, don’t be surprised if he is traded before the final cuts!

  2020 Draft
2-37 Kyle Dugger
2-60 Josh Uche Antonio Gibson
3-87 Afernee Jennings Tyler Biadasz
3-91 Devin Asiasi Gabriel Davis
3-101 Dalton Keene Albert Okwuegbunam
5-159 Justin Rohrwasser Darnell Mooney
6-182 Michael Owenu
6-195 Justin Herron
6-204 Cassh Maluia
7-230 Dustin Woodard

I loved what Bill Belichick did in the 2020 Draft by trading his 1st round pick to the Chargers and dropping back into the 2nd round to take Kyle Dugger the player that I wanted the Pats to take all along.  In order for that to happen Belichick would have to trade back, otherwise, the Patriots 2nd round pick wouldn’t be high enough to take Dugger.  I was also fearful that Belichick wouldn’t take a chance on a Division II selection.  Perhaps he learned his lesson from the Harry pick and listened to his scouts.  Uche was never a full-time player at Michigan and there was no reason to draft him this high.  Can you imagine having a backfield of Pollard and Gibson!  Three 3rd round picks should have been a bonanza except the Pats turned it into a disaster.  Tyler Biadasz is now the starting center for the Cowboys.  Gabriel Davis is a star now in Buffalo.  His route running is amazing and he is big at 6’3” 237 lbs.   Samuel, Brown, and Davis sound like an accounting firm, accounting for TDs that is!  Albert Okwuegbunam is an up-and-coming TE with Denver.  The uber-athletic TE has great size too at 6’5” 258 lbs.  He ran 4.49 at the combine.  Asiasi and Keene were awful mistakes, just as bad as Harry.  Both were taken in the 3rd round.  Let’s finish this nightmare of a draft by switching out Darnell Mooney for the neo-nazi kicker Justin Rohrwasser.  Somebody didn’t do their due diligence.  There should have been a clearing out of the scouting staff after this abysmal performance.

2021 Draft
1-15 Mac Jones
2-38 Christian Barmore
3-96 Ronnie Perkins Quinn Meinerz
4-120 Rhamondre Stevenson
5-177 Cam McGrone Elijah Mitchell
6-188 Josh Bledsoe Shi Smith
6-197 Will Sherman Landon Young
7-242 Tre Nixon


After the disaster of 2020, Bill Belichick and the coaching staff hit a home run with this draft.  But did they really do as well as they could have?  I didn’t predict the Patriots to take Mac Jones.  I was hoping they would but felt that Belichick would come up with an excuse not to take him.  Jone’s rookie year was better than Tom Brady’s 2nd season.  Brady had the benefit of sitting behind Drew Bledsoe, soaking in all his knowledge, while getting bigger and stronger for the NFL.  Jones was blitzed more times than any QB in the league last year and became the best QB of the 2020 Draft Class.  His decision-making is superb and I predict that he will get even better in 2022.

I did not like Christian Barmore in the 2021 draft.  I was wrong and I have said this many times.  When it comes to drafting college players that are hurt, and you draft them anyway, knowing they will not be able to play for you is a strategy I absolutely hate, especially for this Patriots team.  This version of the Patriots is not that good enough where they can take a guy and stash him for a year and hope he heals and rehabs appropriately, then they become a great value at where you selected them.  I believe Belichick and company made a huge mistake taking Ronnie Perkins and not taking OG/OC Quinn Meinerz.  I had this disagreement with Evan Lazar, formerly of CLNS Media about Meinerz.  His claim was that Meinerz was just an OC and coming from Dlll it would take him too long to adapt to the NFL, if at all.  Meinerz taught himself how to shotgun snap and showed this at the Senior Bowl practices for the first time.  He is the starting Left Guard for Denver now and played 683 snaps for Denver last year.  If we had taken Meinerz, we wouldn’t have to take Cole Strange in the 1st round in 2022.

Next, they take a 2nd injured player in Cam MGrone.  There are only 3 LBs taken after McGrone at picks 185, 220, and 259 (Mr. Irrelevant).   They should have taken RB Elijah Mitchell.  But we are not done taking injured players, they took S Joshua Bledsoe who couldn’t play in 2022.  Why not take Shi Smith the speedy WR from South Carolina.  The final question mark is Will Sherman who I don’t think can play in this league.  I would have taken a chance on big OT Landon Young.

2022 Draft
1-29 Cole Strange Kaiir Elam
2-50 Tyquan Thornton Travis Jones
3-85 Marcus Jones
4-121 Jack Jones
4-127 Pierre Strong Jordan Stout
4-137 Bailey Zappe
6-183 Kevin Harris Malcolm Rodriquez
6-200 Sam Roberts
6-210 Chasen Hines Tariq Castro-Fields
7-245 Andrew Stueber Jeffrey Gunter

Every draft expert agreed the Patriots reached for their 1st two draft picks.  I would put it a different way.  Because they screwed up the previous drafts, they were forced to make these drastic moves for better athletes in Strange and Thornton.  My picks would have been Elam and Jones either way.  If they had picked Meinerz they wouldn’t have as great a need for an LG.  If they didn’t spend all that money in Free Agency in 2020 and be stuck in Cap Jail, they could have easily signed Ted Karras to that 3 yr $18M contract.  They might have gotten Strange in the 3rd round.  Don’t get me wrong I love the Marcus Jones pic in the 3rd round and he will be their Punt Returner day one.  Taking Pierre Strong was a great move given the way the team is currently structured, but if they had drafted better there would be no need to take Strong.   Jordan Stout the punter from Penn State would be the choice.  Cutting Jake Bailey saves $3.9M on the cap, which could have been used on Karras.  The final move would have been Malcolm Rodriquez LB Oklahoma State.  Yes, he is under 6’ but so wasn’t Larry Izzo.  Rodriquez ran a 4.52 40 and Bench Pressed 36 reps at 225#.  Both Hines and Stueber are on NFI and can’t practice.  Perhaps we should have taken CB Fields and Edge rusher Gunter instead.  If they weren’t in Cap jail they could have kept Mason and cut Wynn.

This is what the Patriots roster would look like going into 2022:

QB: (3) Jones, Zappe, Hoyer

RB: (5) Antonio Gibson, Stevenson, Elijah Mitchell, Tony Pollard, Harris

WR: (5) Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, Gabriel Davis, Darnell Mooney, Shi Smith

OL: (9) Brown, Landon Young, Quinn Meinerz, Owenu, Biadasz, Andrews, Mason, Cajuste, Herron

TE: (3) Henry, Albert Ogbwuebunam, Frank Moreau

DL: (6) Barmore, Guy, Travis Jones, Cowart, Wise (Free Agent)

Edge: (3)  Judon, Jeffrey Gunter, (Free Agent)

LB (4) Bentley, McMillan, Wilson, Malcolm Rodriquez

CB: (5) Kaiir Elam, Tariq Castro-Fields, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, Jon Jones

S: (4) McCourty, Dugger, Phillips, Peppers

ST:  (6) Jordan Stoudt, Cardona, Slater, Bethel, Folk, C. Davis

They would have saved $42.64M against the cap for 2002.  Here is the breakdown:

Free Agents Not Signed or Traded for                    Resigned or Not Traded

Agholor                $14.9M                                           Karras $6M

Bourne                 $6.4M                                              Mason $9M

Parker                   $8.74M

Wynn                    $10M

J.Smith                  $13.7M

Total                      $67.64                                                   $15M                                     $52.64M to spend

The Pats would have enough money to re-sign JC Jackson (5 yrs, $82.5M, $16.5 AAV) and sign free agent run stuffer Fletcher Cox ($14M) and then Maliek Collins ($8.5).  That would be $39M and have money left to sign a veteran LB or extend pending Free Agents like Samuel.

Morse’s Morsels

Rookie Camp Starts with a Thud

Rookies reported to camp on Monday, July 18th with the announcement by the Patriots that 6th and 7th round draft picks Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber were placed on the Non-Football Injury list and will not be practicing.  They are eligible to come off this list when they can pass a physical and are deemed fit to practice.  This may also mean they did not complete the timed run the Patriots put the players through to determine they are fit to practice.  These are a series of runs at a timed rate for their position.  They are allowed a brief respite between runs but must complete all the runs in the specified times.

Gino for the Hall of Fame  

Let’s all get behind this push to get Gino Cappeletti into the Hall of Fame.  Does anyone know who the 12 members of the Veterans Hall of Fame committee are? Let’s start a letter-writing campaign to help get Gino elected to the Hall where he belongs.

White Not Ready for Camp

It is appearing that James White will not be ready for the start of camp.  Mike Reiss recently reported that White has a noticeable hitch in his stride as he rehabs that very difficult hip subluxation.  Nothing is official, but White has done several interviews at Gillette over the past few weeks which means that he is in the house every day working hard to get rehab on his injury while his teammates are off enjoying the last few weeks before the Training Camp grind begins.

Patriots News 7/22: Daily Team Notebook

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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    1 year ago

    Absolute hubris

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