On draft day*, it’s easy to get carried away with each player’s potential impact out of the gate. We all go to extremes with expectations and are often proven very wrong in short order. It isn’t until the players have actually spent some time on the field as a professional that we can actually gauge how they might fit in as a rookie.
As such, here’s a look at where each of the Patriots’ draft picks stand with the regular season less than two weeks away:
Malcom Brown, DT: There haven’t been many big surprises with the 32nd overall pick to this point, as he figures to be part of a relatively crowded rotation on the Pats‘ defensive line
Jordan Richards, S: Perceived as a mega-reach in the second round, Richards has made good impressions in training camp. He figures to serve as a backup strong safety this season, but he will certainly make an impact early on special teams.
Geneo Grissom, DL: Projected to the NFL as an outside linebacker by many, the third-round pick has gotten reps at both defensive tackle and defensive end. Rumor has it the Pats like versatility.
Tre’ Jackson, OG: The first of two fourth-round guards, Jackson is ahead of Mason as far as chances of being the starter on the right side go.
Shaq Mason, OL: The second of the Pats‘ fourth-round guards, Mason is a proficient run-blocker (playing at Georgia Tech will do that to a guy), but he’s behind as a pass-blocker due to his college program’s run-heavy scheme.
Joe Cardona, LS: The fifth-round selection of Cardona, a longsnapper out of Navy, was viewed as a classic Bill Belichick pick. So far, Cardona figures to be a fine replacement for Danny Aiken.
Matthew Wells, LB: The sixth-rounder didn’t last long with the Pats, as he was dealt to the Bears for second-year guard Ryan Groy on August 10.
A.J. Derby, TE: The sixth-round tight end figured to have a tough time cracking the roster this season, but he remains Patriots property after the team waived him and placed him on IR after he went unclaimed.
Darryl Roberts, CB: The seventh-round cornerback started the preseason opener, but was injured against the Packers. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that it’s a serious wrist injury that could cost the Marshall product his rookie season.
Xzavier Dickson, LB: The seventh-rounder played six snaps in the third preseason game, the least among Pats linebackers.
Around the division:
Jets: Sixth overall pick Leonard Williams is expected to be a starter at defensive end from the get-go due to Sheldon Richardson’s four-game suspension. He got a safety in the second preseason game against the Falcons. Second-round receiver Devin Smith remains out with broken ribs suffered in the second day of practice, while third-round linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has been out with a recently suffered knee injury.
Bills: Because they didn’t have a first-round pick due to the Sammy Watkins trade, the Bills’ first pick was cornerback Ronald Darby in the second round. Darby had two picks in the Bills’ second preseason game. Third-round pick John Miller is in line to be Buffalo’s starting right guard this season. Fifth-round running back Karlos Williams is out with an undisclosed injury but is expected to be ready for the season-opener. He shouldn’t expect many carries with LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson ahead of him.
Dolphins: Fourteenth overall pick DeVante Parker was recently activated from the physically unable to perform list. The receiver is coming off offseason foot surgery and hopes to be ready for the season, albeit with very limited practice time. It seems the potential starting status of fourth-round guard Jamil Douglas is dependent on the status of starting left tackle Jason Fox (concussion), whose absence creates a domino effect that would seemingly slide Dallas Thomas to left tackle and Douglas into the lineup at guard.
*On the three draft days; Roger Goodell is lucky that Deflategate has pushed moving the draft to primetime down the list of incredibly dumb things he’s done as commissioner. What a bozo move.
Christopher Price contributed to this post.