In his 20th year as HC of the NEP, Belichick is entering the zone in totality. His mastery of the entire NFL team building, trading and coaching process has been on display during the 2019 NFL Draft. While other teams reach for questionable talent to fill holes on the roster Belichick sits tight and lets the board come to him. To begin, they got an absolute stud WR, N’Keal Harry at 32. Harry addresses the Pats’ biggest need coming into the draft weekend and should be expected to make an impact.
The Pats’ WR core is coming together with high ceiling rookie Harry, veteran addition Demarius Thomas, a reinstated Josh Gordon, and stalwart Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman. Undrafted free agent Jakobi Myers from NC State should also have a chance to prove he belongs on the roster.
A couple of years ago, the Pats traded a first to New Orleans for WR Brandin Cooks, who contributed a lot during the regular season but then played poorly and was injured in the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. Naturally, he was flipped again for a fresh first rounder, this time to the Rams, where he played great during the season but failed to catch two touchdown passes in the Super Bowl for the Rams.
In the 2019 second round, Bill flipped a 3rd round compensatory pick to the Rams to move up a few spots and take the human missile, enormous CB JoeJuan Williams. Paired with Gilmore, and last year’s rookie free agent stud JC Jackson, this fortifies an already strong defensive backfield. It will be interesting to see where they can fit it last year’s second round pick, slot corner Duke Dawson.
Third round picks DE Chase Winovich and RB Damien Williams look to contribute right away — Winovich to rush the passer and set the edge in place of the departed Trey Flowers, and Williams to backup last year’s first round pick, RB Sony Michel. Look for Williams to replace Rex Burkhead, who Pats fans will always love for his winning TD against the Chiefs, and his great fourth quarter run that helped put Super Bowl LIII on ice.
Belichick also continues to trade mid-round draft picks for solid veteran players, with this year’s example being monster DE Michael Bennett for a fifth.
Last year, most of the Pats draft class was injured or didn’t play. So a massive influx of youth is coming to the team:
Last year’s #1 Isaiah Wynn should be a starter, assuming he’s healthy enough coming back from achilles surgery. 2018 4th round pick Ja’whuan Bentley looked like the second coming of Jerod Mayo in the three games he played before he tore his bicep (hopefully his injuries will not also be the second coming of Mayo).
In the 2018 draft, Belichick sent a 3rd round pick to the 49ers for tackle Trent Brown. Brown became a star, and after helping the Pats win their 6th Lombardi, he signed a $66M contract with Oakland. This gave the Pats a compensatory 3rd round pick.
Between last year’s high picks and this year’s haul, the Pats have an embarrassment of riches for young talent to replenish their astonishing 18-year dynasty and keep the rest of the AFC East hoping for wild card berths — because the division is locked down.