The Patriots took 10 players in the 2019 NFL Draft and have almost nothing to show for it. When Robert Kraft criticizes his team’s recent track record in terms of player development, this class is probably at the front of his mind.
Bill Belichick missed at nearly every spot.
The Patriots reportedly traded Jarrett Stidham to the Raiders Thursday along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-round selection. That is a damning commentary. Stidham isn’t even worth enough to attract a late-round pick on his own. The Patriots had to throw in a sweetener.
This trade was easy to predict. Stidham, whom the Patriots took in the fourth round, was never a factor in Foxborough. It was telling when the Patriots never seriously gave him a chance at the starting job in 2020, and insulting when they started Brian Hoyer ahead of him in Kansas City when Cam Newton was battling Covid. Hoyer was dreadful in that game, losing track of time at the end of the first half and getting stripped in the red zone. Yet, Belichick didn’t play Stidham until the contest was out of reach.
He was rendered irrelevant when the Patriots drafted Mac Jones, and fungible when they took Bailey Zappe last month — in the fourth round. Maybe Belichick never drafted Stidham with the intention of making him Tom Brady’s heir apparent.
But he wasn’t even good enough to beat out Brian Hoyer.
As it stands today, only three players from the Class of ’19 are still on the roster. That’s including N’Keal Harry, who will probably be cut or traded before training camp.
The Patriots may need to include a sweetener to receive anything for Harry, too.
Since 2019, only 12 of the 28 Patriots draftees have played more than 50 percent of the team’s snaps. That’s the reason why they needed to spend big on mediocrity last offseason, putting them into a precarious cap situation this spring.
The Patriots just don’t have enough depth.
They would be in a better spot at cornerback if Joejuan Williams, the second-rounder who’s played in just one game over his first three seasons, could see the field. Third-round linebacker Chase Winovich never jived with Belichick, and was shipped to Cleveland.
When the 2022 season begins, it’s likely that Damien Harris and Jake Bailey will be the only two players left from a draft that happened just three years ago.
With that precedent, this year’s draft doesn’t look so bad anymore.