The New England Patriots fell just shy of the Super Bowl this past season, but they're primed to make another run at their fifth championship this year. They had nine picks in the draft, and they're expecting several of those rookies to step in and make an immediate impact. Here's how we think each of those players will contribute in their rookie seasons:
CB Cyrus Jones - Nickel Corner/Kick Returner
Jones isn't going to come in and take over a starting role, but he will contribute in the slot right away. His lack of size (5'9") is negated when he's in the nickel position, and he has an exceptional combination of quickness, instincts and toughness to make an impact. Plus, he will likely make a contribution in the return game.
G Joe Thuney - Rotation
Thuney is a rotation piece for now, but he will be a starter for this team relatively quickly in the next few years. His ability to play either tackle or guard will make him a valuable commodity for the Pats - and should allow him to see a good amount of playing time.
QB Jacoby Brissett - Third-String
Brissett will provide this team with quarterback depth. With Tom Brady's uncertain status for the first four games of the season, Brissett will back up Jimmy Garoppolo. His future with the club will go one of two directions - he will stay as Garoppolo's backup until he is traded or Brady retires, or he will become Brady's backup if New England parts ways with Garoppolo.
DT Vincent Valentine - Backup
Valentine is still raw and needs time to develop, which he'll get behind the stacked interior defensive line the Patriots have. At 6'3" and 329 lbs, he provides the size and length New England is looking for from their defensive tackles.
WR Malcolm Mitchell - Rotation
New England has been looking for outside receiver help to pair with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, and they tabbed Mitchell as their guy. He isn't a big wideout (6'0", 200 lbs), but is comfortable playing on the outside. Plus, his speed and quickness means he could take over as a slot receiver in the long run.
LB/S Kamu Grugier-Hill - Backup/Practice Squad
The 6'2", 210-pounder played linebacker at Eastern Illinois, though he projects to be a safety at the NFL level unless he bulks up. He posted a 4.4 40-yard dash time at his pro day, showcasing his physical tools. However, Grugier-Hill will likely need time to adjust to his new position, and he'll get that time in New England.
LB Elandon Roberts - Backup/Practice Squad/Special Teams
Roberts is an instinctual player who had a nose for stopping the run at Houston, leading FBS with 88 solo tackles last season. He still needs to improve in coverage, but his run-stopping ability should allow him to see the field - even if it's just on special teams.
G Ted Karras - Backup/Practice Squad
Karras was a four-year starter at Illinois, but he figures to be in the back of a stacked lineup along the interior of New England's offensive line. The Patriots are hoping his high football IQ will help him stick around.
WR Devin Lucien - Special Teams/Practice Squad/Cut
Lucien is another big receiver (6'2", 195 lbs) with potential that the Patriots took a flyer on in the seventh round. He dealt with a hamstring injury for most of his senior year, but accounted for 534 receiving yards and five touchdowns over the final three games of the season. New England is stacked at receiver, so his ability to make the team will likely be determined by his ability and willingness on special teams.Back to the New England Patriots Newsfeed