Giving a letter grade and analysis for each of the Patriots selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, along with an overall grade for the team.
Kyle Dugger, S: Round 2, No. 37 overall: Lenoir-Rhyne; Grade: A-
It's classic Bill Belichick taking a division two player with his first pick, but Dugger can flat out play. Belichick has had his struggles drafting defensive backs, but Dugger is a very versatile athlete, who just absolute grinds, which Belichick must love. Yes, he has played against weaker competition, but he was an absolute force. He won the Division Two Defensive Player of the Year Award. Dugger has a lot of talent, and just might surprise a lot of people in the pros. In addition, he can immediately slot in as a punt returner, where he was very dangerous in college. It's going to be a tough jump from DII to the pros, but with Dugger's athleticism, work ethic, and being with the Patriots, he should be able to succeed.
Josh Uche, DE: Round 2, No. 60 overall: Michigan; Grade: B+
Uche is an another very versatile, and athletic player. He seems a lot like Kyle Van Noy did out of college, and the Pats are hoping that he might be able to replace a little of Van Noy's production from last year. Uche is just 6'1", 245lbs, but is explosive off the edge. He didn't play as much as you might expect with Michigan, but when he did, he was extremely productive. He seems like he'll be a really good fit in New England, and could turn out to be a big steal.
Anfernee Jennings, OLB: Round 3, No. 87 overall: Alabama; Grade: B-
We all know that Belichick loves drafting Alabama players, and Jennings fits the bill. He is another linebacker on the smaller side, but he should fit into the Pats defensive schemes pretty well. He is technically very sound, and looks like a classic Patriot. No doubt about it though, Jennings is kind of like Josh Uche's lessor version. Hopefully for New England he will be able to contribute a little next year, but it does seem like they took him a little too high. This is more of a pick to bolster depth, but it's also a great scheme fit.
Devin Asiasi, TE: Round 3, No. 91 overall: UCLA; Grade: B
Asiasi is an interesting pick, because of this strange tight end class. It was definitely a weak group this year, and Asiasi was just the second tight end taken in the entire draft. Most had him lower on the list though. He still will probably be the Pats number one tight end next year. He's a good blocker, and has good pass catching ability as well, although he does lumber a bit in his running. He's not very lengthy, but he is just going to keep improving, and has a lot of potential.
“[Run blocking] sets the tone for the whole game, you’re coming up and you’re punching that dude right in the mouth first play, you’re setting that tone for the rest of the game. So to me, the running game is just as important as the pass game.”
-Devin Asiasi last year from the UCLA newspaper
Dalton Keene, TE: Round 3, No. 101 overall: Virginia Tech; Grade: C+
Keene can pretty much do whatever you want in terms of offense. He can catch passes, block, play fullback, you name it. He's not an extremely talented receiver, or player for that matter though, and the New England definitely took him higher than he was projected to go. With fullback James Develin retiring, Keene could be a key part of the Patriots running game next year. He actually caught the majority of his passes out of the backfield last year.
The thing with Keene is that no one really knows what he will turn into. He might flounder out when asked to cover more field. On other ways though, and this is a long shot, he could turn into a George Kittle like threat. There were definitely tight ends available who were more of a sure thing at this position, but maybe Keene is worth the risk.
Justin Rohrwasser, K: Round 5, No. 159 overall: Marshall; Grade: B-
The Patriots didn't have a kicker on their roster, so it was expected that they would take one, but it certainly was not expected for them to take Rohrwasser. Goergia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship was largely considered the best player at the position, but Bill Belichick being Bill Belichick of course takes the dark-horse. It is very likely that Rohrwasser wouldn't have gotten drafted at all had the Pats not taken him. While saying that though, he was 18 for 21 on field goals, and 35 for 36 on extra points last year with Marshall. He also had to kick in some tough conditions, and had a few clutch kicks, so hopefully he is the kicker of the future.
Michael Onwenu, G: Round 6, No. 182 overall: Michigan; Grade: A-
Onwenu has gotten very mixed reviews both before and after he was drafted. The worst of them say that there is really nothing special about his game, and he has a low ceiling. The other end says that New England got a huge steal in getting him this late. At 6'3" 350lbs, he is an absolute tank. In his last two years at Michigan, he allowed just 13 pressures. I think it's a really good pick. He's not going to immediately be a big part of the Patriots, but he could turn out to be a real contributor down the road.
Justin Herron, OT: Round 6, No. 195 overall: Wake Forest; Grade: B-
Herron is athletic, and quick, but has sub par technique. If he can be coached up by New England's staff, then maybe he could find himself in competition for a starting role in the next few years.
Cassh Maluia, LB: Round 6, No. 204 overall: Wyoming; Grade: D
At the very least, Maluia should be a very good special teams player. He is a good athlete, and the upside is there. Will he ever become a true contributor for this defense? Most likely, not.
Dustin Woodard, C/G: Round 7, No. 230 overall: Memphis; Grade: C-
The Pats do need some depth help for their interior offensive line, so hopefully Woodward will be able to boost that. He is very unlikely to ever see game time though, especially with Patriots center David Andrews healthy again.