The 2018 NFL Draft is in the books, so check out the New England Patriots' 2018 NFL Draft class and the grades given to them by major publications. Many felt that the Patriots had a solid draft overall but could've done a little bit better. Here's how they fared in the draft grades given by major publications:
Breakdown: "Their evaluation always requires a deeper dive, though Bill Belichick did fill several needs (even if he'd cringe at that framing). Isaiah Wynn, assuming he can handle an NFL tackle's responsibilities despite projections he'd fit better at guard, could take over for Nate Solder. RB Sony Michel is far more explosive than Dion Lewis was. Second-round CB Duke Dawson eases the Malcolm Butler divorce. The Pats also swung a deal for San Francisco RT Trent Brown, who's started 26 games over the past two seasons, and picked up Chicago's second-round pick in 2019. The head scratcher was the decision not to take a quarterback who could develop behind Tom Brady ... unless LSU's Danny Etling surprises on a Brady-esque level.Drafts are replete with boom-or-bust prospects. Jon Gruden's return produced what looks like a boom-or-bust draft. Trading a third rounder to Pittsburgh for WR Martavis Bryant could be a coup ... if Bryant's head is screwed on soundly. Gruden clearly prioritized offensive tackles, correctly moving down in Round 1 for Kolton Miller before taking North Carolina A&T's Brandon Parker in the third. Were either overdrafted in a thin tackle class? Stay tuned. LSU pass rusher Arden Key will enter the building with extensive personal issues, while Michigan DT Maurice Hurst is a medical risk. If it all pans out, Gruden should take a preliminary trip to Vegas. Otherwise, at least his $100 million line of credit can withstand a few hits."
Breakdown: "The last time I saw Tom Brady on a football field, he threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns against a good defense. If the draft told us anything, it's that the decision-makers in New England think No. 12 can continue to defy age for at least another year, because unless you think seventh-rounder Danny Etling is a great developmental prospect (I don't), Brady has no Jimmy Garoppolopushing him. In fact, the Patriots had a focus on helping Brady out. Isaiah Wynn (pick 23) has traits that say he might be better at guard, but he can play tackle. And if it wasn't such a crowded backfield, I'd peg Sony Michel as a Rookie of the Year candidate -- he's an explosive SEC-tested running back who is scary in space. I'm typically down on first-round RBs, but he was No. 28 on my board, and the Patriots nabbed him at 31.
"The Patriots' defense -- the secondary in particular -- was thrashed too often last year, certainly in February, and Duke Dawson (56) could help. He's best when he can play press-man, and seems like an immediate help in the slot. Linebacker would be a major concern if I were a Patriots fan, and Ja'Whaun Bentley (143) at least has a chance to stick. Braxton Berrios (210) seems cut from New England wide receiver central casting. No surprise if he sticks and finds a way to help -- though don't expect early returns.
"Every year we ask if the Patriots could have done more, but this team annually picks at the end of Round 1. You have to develop when you pick where they do, and to their credit, they do. The big question will be whether they could have used the Michel pick for needed defensive help."
Breakdown: "It was key for the New England Patriots to revamp their offensive line while not forgetting to address the defense. They characteristically made several trades to stockpile future picks and also traded for right tackle Trent Brown from the San Francisco 49ers. Brown and first-round pick Isaiah Wynn are excellent pass-blockers and will immediately pay dividends for this offense.
"Many expected the Patriots to find their quarterback of the future in this class, but instead they passed up Lamar Jackson and others, simply settling on Danny Etling as a possible backup. They're maximizing their window with quarterback Tom Brady by surrounding him with versatile running back Sony Michel. That'll help considerably in 2018.
"Their defensive picks were more hit-and-miss. Taking Florida cornerback Duke Dawson in the second round was a reach, and it's unknown where he'll play right away. The Patriots have two boundary corners in Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty, and both Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones played well enough in the slot last year to hold the team over. At least linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam are accomplished collegiate players who can immediately challenge for playing time."
Breakdown: "In the first round, New England got starters in offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. Wynn was arguably the best blocker in the SEC a season ago and gives the Patriots a player who can play at tackle or guard. Michel is the definition of a Patriots running back. He’s fast and agile, and plays with more power than you may think. He can also catch the ball out fo the backfield. If his health holds up, a lot of people expect Michel to be this year’s Alvin Kamara.
"In the second round the Patriots moved up to take Florida cornerback Duke Dawson. It was strange the Patriots traded up for him, and that he was the choice over some other cornerback prospects.
"Christian Sam was a sneaky good choice at No. 178. He should be able to play inside and outside linebacker for the Patriots and has good size and athleticism. It was not a shock that the took Braxton Berrios in the sixth round. He’s an asset as a punt returner, and you know he’ll be coached up as a slot receiver.
"Out of this draft the got 2019 picks in the second and third rounds. Getting the third rounder also means they ultimately got defensive tackle Danny Shelton for free."
Breakdown: "The Patriots kept making trades, pushing some of the picks to next year. That’s generally smart. The picks they did make weren’t slam dunks. Assuming Isaiah Wynn can play left tackle (he doesn’t have ideal height and many thought he’d be an NFL guard), that should be a good pick. The first-round selection of running back Sony Michel, ignoring some defensive needs there, was curious. The Patriots might be the best team in the league at identifying cheap running back talent and it seemed strange they’d invest a first-round pick in one. Cornerback Duke Dawson isn’t considered a can’t-miss NFL starter, but the Patriots needed cornerback depth. And the Patriots previously traded picks for veterans like Danny Shelton and offensive tackle Trent Brown, which helps. Bill Belichick’s moves could pay off down the line, but it’s hard to get excited now."
Breakdown: "Instead of using their considerable early-round draft capital to find the next Tom Brady (which, by the way, may never exist, and couldn’t be found in this imperfect class of rookie QBs), the Patriots decided to replenish the talent around the actual Tom Brady, who is coming off an MVP season, which many seemed to forget this offseason. Brady’s departure—whenever it comes—will force a drastic resetting of this franchise one way or another. Instead of investing valuable draft picks on guesses for how to minimize that discomfort, New England spend those picks on players who can help collect more Super Bowls right now.
"With Isaiah Wynn, the situation at offensive tackle becomes less direr. And this selection was amplified by the Day 2 trade for gigantic 49ers right tackle Trent Brown, which could allow Wynn to slide to left guard, where his body type is better suited. That would give the Patriots an alternative to re-upping inconsistent pass protector Joe Thuney in 2020. Sony Michel, Wynn’s teammate at Georgia, offers dimension to the stable ground game that free-agent signee Jeremy Hill couldn’t be trusted to provide.
"Cornerback Duke Dawson is a more traditional slot cover guy, ending the experiments of guys like Patrick Chung and Eric Rowe playing slightly out of position inside. Bill Belichick traded away the rest of New England’s second, third-and fourth-round picks—usually he gets overzealously lauded for this, but not here. The grade below has nothing to do with the trades and everything to do with a once-again Super Bowl ready franchise having the wisdom to build around its legendary MVP QB rather than taking guesses at how to one day replace him."Back to the New England Patriots Newsfeed