Why the Patriots 2022 NFL draft was way overrated

Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones (25) celebrates his interception against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones (25) celebrates his interception against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Some New England Patriots observers re-thought the 2022 draft and thought it was better than at first glance. It wasn’t. A few players from the class had some good games.

One, Marcus Jones had lots of them and earned a first-team All-Pro designation as a punt returner. He was the star of the class.

But other than Jones, the class was just fair. The reality needs to be explored, the illusory thinking exposed, and the facts laid bare for Patriot Nation to see.

Disclosure: This space is a long-time observer and critic of the Patriots drafting which other than 2021, has been dismal for years as even owner Robert Kraft himself pointed out.

Here’s part of what the owner had to say as cited by yardbarker.com,

"“Really, the teams who draft well are the ones who will be consistently good,” Kraft said. “I don’t feel like we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope and believe I’ve seen a different approach this year.”"

Let’s take a look at the 2022 draft to see if Mr. Kraft may be happy with the 2022 results.

The New England Patriots draft rates a C- grade

Let’s first take a look at the good. The Patriot’s best pick was one that lo-and-behold was actually a consensus pick at the round taken – or even better. It was that cornerback and more, Marcus Jones.

What’s a “consensus pick”? It’s a player who most football draft experts would rate in the round in which he was actually taken. Jones was. He was the team’s third-round pick and was a tremendous addition.

Now to the non-consensus picks. The New England Patriots with their bizarre draft strategy, don’t seem to evaluate players as most teams do and certainly don’t make very many picks where the consensus resides.

Related Story. Bill Belichick has hit on his last three NFL drafts. light

The team’s first two picks in 2022 were consensus “reaches”, meaning taken above where the consensus felt they should be (or even well above that spot).

First-round pick, guard Cole Strange fell squarely into the reach category. Strange was looked upon as a third-round pick or maybe lower by many observers.

When he was selected in the first round by the Patriots, LA Rams people (Super Bowl Champions) literally laughed at the pick on national TV.

Even Strange himself thought it was a joke when told about it. Nonetheless, the player started the season at left guard but was benched after some games by Head Coach Bill Belichick. Only devastating injuries to the O-line brought him back into the picture.

Two points to be made: First, drafting a guard in the first round is a bad idea. You can get them much later as the Patriots did with Joe Thuney, third-round, Shaq Mason, fourth-round, and Michael Onwenu, sixth-round. Case made.

Secondly, the New England Patriots needed an offensive tackle desperately and they whiffed on it. While Strange played OK, the pick was a huge negative because of the opportunity cost.

They could have had a far better player at that 31st pick in the first round or traded down to glean even more picks and still gotten Strange later on, maybe much later on.

The second huge gaffe was similar with Tyquan Thornton, a wide receiver. They needed a good wide receiver. Thornton has blazing speed but he’s rail thin.

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He was selected in the second round and the consensus was he could have been landed maybe a round or two later. Thornton did little to justify that pick this season.

The New England Patriots other picks

In the fourth round, the team selected diminutive cornerback Jack Jones. Jones showed he could play, but justified the pre-draft off-field concerns about the player when he was suspended by Belichick. Another partial flop.

They also selected their first of two running backs, Pierre Strong, Jr. He did little. The third fourth-rounder, Bailey Zappe showed pretty well spelling Mac Jones but was benched when Jones returned from injury. He may be a find. We’ll see.

The remaining picks were basically wasted. Sixth-round running back Kevin Harris did little. Sixth-round defensive tackle, Sam Roberts and fellow sixth-round guard Chasen Hines were invisible as was seventh-round offensive tackle, Andrew Steuber.

Next. Why Mac Jones is (or isn’t) the Patriots quarterback of the future. dark

Summing it all up, the Patriots’ 2022 draft fits right in with the other poor ones cited by Bob Kraft. Unless and until, they start making picks along consensus lines, expect that to continue.

And that will likely only change when Bill Belichick exits the scene, retires, and a competent General Manager (hello Louis Riddick!) is hired.

As they say in Foxborough, it is what it is. And as far as drafting is concerned, it’s not good enough. The overall 2022 draft grade is a not-so-good: C-.

What do you think the 2022 draft grade should be? We’d like to hear.