The draft, which had been scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, was successfully completed virtually from the homes of coaches, general managers and other front-office staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player New England has selected will fit.
Round 2, No. 37 overall: Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
My take: This pick is going to be tough for Patriots fans to digest, given some of the struggles coach Bill Belichick has had with defensive backs in the second round, a group including CB Terrence Wheatley (2008), CB Darius Butler (2009), CB Ras-I Dowling (2011), S Tavon Wilson (2012), S Jordan Richards (2015), CB Cyrus Jones (2016) and CB Duke Dawson (2018).
But in fairness to Dugger, who is a great story of overcoming long odds to become a high draft pick out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, he should be judged on his own merits. At just shy of 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds, he is a box safety and linebacker type in the mold of Patrick Chung, who fills a valuable role on the Patriots' defense. With Chung closer to the end of his career, Dugger is a potential future replacement and should be an immediate contributor on special teams.
In the AFC, facing athletic quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson means the Patriots will be in sub packages and looking for defenders who run well. Dugger (4.47 time in the 40) fits the profile of defenders who will be tapped in those types of game plans.
Round 2, No. 60 overall: Josh Uche, DE, Michigan
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My take: At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Uche is an interesting prospect who fits a similar profile to that of Tedy Bruschi coming out of the University of Arizona in 1996. Like Bruschi in college, Uche gets after the quarterback with hard-to-miss athleticism (16.5 career sacks), but his size makes him a challenging projection for full-time work on the edge of an NFL defense.
That's why he could make a move like Bruschi's to more off-the-line linebacker duties. That's a spot where the Patriots are thin after losing Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts in free agency. They have Dont'a Hightower, Ja'Whaun Bentley and Terez Hall on the depth chart. Uche also projects to help on special teams, as he runs well for a player his size (4.75 time in the 40). One area of note is Uche's lack of playing time in college: He was used sparingly on defense his first three seasons before he played about half of Michigan's defensive snaps last season.
Round 3, No. 87 overall: Anfernee Jennings, OLB, Alabama
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My take: The 6-foot-2, 256-pound Jennings is a physical, edge-setting outside linebacker who played under coach Nick Saban, which means this pick likely comes with a strong recommendation from someone Belichick says he respects as much as anyone in football.
Whereas New England's Chase Winovich is a more sudden player at the position, Jennings plays a more rugged style, and his long arms help create some disruptive plays (20 pass breakups). He was viewed as a tough, durable player at Alabama, and he might have some position flexibility to factor as a downhill blitzer similar to Elandon Roberts in recent years. The OLB position had quantity entering the draft, with John Simon, Winovich, Derek Rivers, Shilique Calhoun, Brandon Copeland, Keionta Davis and Tashawn Bower on the depth chart. Jennings should also factor into the special-teams mix.
Round 3, No. 91 overall: Devin Asiasi, TE, UCLA
My take: Tight end was one of the top needs for the Patriots entering the draft, and though scouts didn't view this as a great overall class, it's clear that the Patriots had Asiasi as one of their targets because he was only the second tight end selected in the draft. The Patriots traded third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks to move up 10 spots to select him (while acquiring a fifth-rounder in the deal). Asiasi is 6-foot-3 and 257 pounds, and while he runs well (4.73 in the 40), he has the frame to be a factor as an inline blocker. He also should factor into the special-teams mix. Because Asiasi was a one-year starter in college (44 catches, 641 yards, 14.6 avg. last season), his fit in the NFL is more of a projection than that of some others with more experience.
Round 3, No. 101 overall: Dalton Keene, TE, Virginia Tech
My take: Just 10 picks after selecting Asiasi, the Patriots double-dipped at the position by trading back into the third round for the 6-foot-4, 253-pound Keene. A former running back, Keene showed a knack for making plays after the catch and was durable, appearing in 38 career games and aligning in various spots. It was clear that the Patriots had to add to their tight end position entering the draft, as they had only Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo on the depth chart, and they quickly doubled their personnel -- and gave up volume in draft capital to do so. It was an aggressive finish to the second day of the draft.
Round 5, No. 159 overall: Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall
My take: The Patriots didn't have a kicker on the roster after releasing all-time leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski in March, so it was expected they would select one. This is a reflection that Rohrwasser is the top-rated option on their board because he was the first kicker selected in the overall draft. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Rohrwasser began his college career at the University of Rhode Island before transferring to Marshall; the New York native has experience kicking in challenging conditions, and was 18-of-21 on field goals in his final college season. This spot in the draft is consistent with where the Patriots have invested in specialists in Belichick's tenure -- Gostkowski was a fourth-rounder in 2006, perennial Pro Bowler coverage player Matthew Slater was a fifth-rounder in 2008, as were punters Zoltan Mesko (2010) and Jake Bailey (2019), and long snapper Joe Cardona (2015).
Round 6, No. 182 overall: Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
My take: Known for his power, the 6-foot-2, 344-pound Onwenu doesn't fit the physical prototype of offensive linemen the Patriots have generally targeted (lighter and more athletic). But at this point in the draft, teams often focus on one standout trait and Onwenu's physical makeup and power had to be appealing to them. There simply aren't many people with that type of frame, so the idea would be to work with him in hopes of harnessing those special traits. The Patriots have Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason as their starting guards, with 2019 fourth-round pick Hjalte Froholdt set to return after spending his rookie season on IR. Jermaine Eluemunor and Najee Toran round out the depth chart.
Round 6, No. 195 overall: Justin Herron, OT, Wake Forest
My take: Belichick has often said offensive tackle is a tough position to get caught short personnel-wise, simply because the supply usually doesn't meet the demand. So it never hurts to add to the pipeline. The 6-foot-5, 308-pound Herron has 33.5-inch arm length, which is one notable physical trait to work with. He's also played a lot of football, as he set the Wake Forest record with 51 games started, capping off his career in 2019 as a team captain while he was in graduate school. He joins an offensive tackle depth chart that is headlined by starters Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon, and also includes Yodny Cajuste and Korey Cunningham.
Round 6, No. 204 overall: Cassh Maluia, LB, Wyoming
My take: The 5-foot-11, 231-pound Maluia ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and could be viewed as a player with core special teams potential. He's a bit undersized for what the Patriots would generally target for an off-the-line linebacker in their system, but he was at the heart of the Wyoming defense after playing alongside Logan Wilson (third round, Bengals). He totaled four career interceptions and 197 tackles over his college career. The Patriots have Dont'a Hightower, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Josh Uche (projected fit) and Terez Hall at the position, and Maluia now joins the mix to compete for a roster spot.
Round 7, No. 230 overall: Dustin Woodard, C/G, Memphis
My take: The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Woodard is similar to sixth-round OT Justin Herron (Wake Forest) in that he has played a lot of football, tying for the most starts in the history of Memphis' program (52). He has experience at all three interior offensive line spots. With starting center David Andrews saying he is cleared to return after missing last season with blood clots in his lungs, Woodard is a developmental prospect to work behind him.