Nearly the entire 2019 NFL Draft seems to be headed to wash status. The New England Patriots have already dumped N’Keal Harry, Chase Winovich, and Jarrett Stidham in trades this offseason. Another high pick from that year, Joejuan Williams, is said to be a “longshot to stick” on the 53-man roster this year, per ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss.
Williams, a second-round pick, has had an underwhelming tenure with the Patriots since he was taken with the 45th overall pick in 2019. Despite elite size for the 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds position, Williams has only managed to earn one start in his three-year NFL career. That came in 2021 as the Patriots’ injury-riddled secondary needed to tap into its depth.
Williams hasn’t recorded an interception, and he has just 44 tackles, and 8 passes defended in his career. If Reiss is correct and the Patriots release him, there would be only three players remaining on the roster who was originally drafted by New England from the 2019 class.
The Holdovers From the 2019 NFL Draft
Running back Damien Harris has been the most impactful. He’s led the Patriots in rushing yards the last two seasons and punched the ball into the end zone 15 times in 2021. While there have been some whispers about the possibility of Harris being dealt before the season, he remains a part of the roster for now.
Punter Jake Bailey is the only player the Patriots drafted in 2019 to have made a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team. Bailey accomplished this in 2020, though his production took a bit of a hit in 2021. Still, he remains a part of the team and a virtual lock to be New England’s starting punter again in 2022.
Lastly, there is offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste. After three years of spending most of his time inactive, Cajuste is beginning to show some signs of being a productive NFL player.
Bill Belichick recently said that Cajuste had the best training camp since the Patriots drafted him. Even in Harris stays, Bailey returns to form, and Cajuste develops into a solid sixth offensive lineman, the 2019 NFL Draft will still be mostly remembered for its misses.
The 2019 Draft Misses
Harry was the biggest miss of the year for the Patriots, and you could make the argument he was one of the largest busts in the NFL from the 2019 draft. The only player from the first round of that draft with a lower Approximate Value than Harry is the late Dwayne Haskins.
The Washington Commanders parted ways with Haskins before he landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tragically, Haskins was killed earlier this year when he was struck by a truck along a highway. Winovich led the Patriots in sacks in 2019 and had some flashes in 2020 before almost disappearing and being buried on the depth chart in 2021.
Stidham was drafted to be the eventual successor to Tom Brady. The former never found himself with the Patriots. He lost a QB battle between himself, Cam Newton, and Brian Hoyer as he wound up third on the depth chart to start the 2020 season.
No matter what happens moving forward, Belichick and Co. are probably eager to forget all about one of their most fruitless draft years.
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