Is the Patriots’ 2022 draft class already a bust? – NBC Sports Boston TipTechBlog


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Is the Patriots’ 2022 draft class already a bust? – NBC Sports Boston TipTechBlog

The 2022 NFL Draft may go down as one of the worst of Bill Belichick’s tenure with the New England Patriots.

Four players from the 2022 draft class — quarterback Bailey Zappe, running back Kevin Harris, and offensive linemen Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber — were waived ahead of Tuesday’s roster cutdown deadline. Another, running back Pierre Strong, was traded to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

First-round guard Cole Strange, widely considered a reach as the 29th overall pick, has been sidelined since the Patriots’ first padded practice of the summer due to a leg injury. Second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton is likely to start the season on short-term injured reserve with a shoulder issue.

Jack Jones’ legal issues are the icing on the cake. The fourth-round cornerback, who showed flashes of his lofty potential during his rookie campaign, was arrested in June after two firearms were found in his carry-on luggage at Logan Airport. His court date is scheduled for Sept. 15, two days before the Patriots’ Week 2 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Of the Patriots’ 10 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, it’s possible only four will be on the Week 1 active roster.

As of today, the Patriots’ lone hit in the 2022 draft appears to be third-round cornerback/returner Marcus Jones. The 24-year-old was a first-team All-Pro returner as a rookie and impressed in all three phases. He became the first player in 45 years to score a touchdown on offense, defense, and special teams in the same season.

The jury is still out on defensive end Sam Roberts. The sixth-round defensive end made the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster after a strong camp/preseason. He appeared in five regular-season games as a rookie.

It’s worth noting the Patriots’ offensive scheme has gotten an overhaul with Bill O’Brien taking over play-calling duties. Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were put in charge of the offense when the aforementioned players were drafted. The change in offensive philosophy likely factored into the decision to move on from the 2022 draftees who are no longer on the active roster.

Nonetheless, the 2022 draft already looks like a bust for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. They’ll hope the 2023 draft class — which includes exciting defensive rookies such as cornerback Christian Gonzalez, defensive end Keion White, and linebacker/safety Marte Mapu — picks up the slack.

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