fb-pixelMeet the Patriots 2019 NFL Draft class - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Meet the Patriots 2019 NFL Draft class

The Patriots selected wide receiver N'Keal Harry in the first round. Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images/Getty Images

Sign up Point After, our Patriots and NFL newsletter

The 2019 NFL Draft concluded Saturday and the Patriots made 10 selections, one more than last year.

The team chose a wide receiver, two cornerbacks, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, a running back, a quarterback, and a punter. Here’s how they got to New England.

N’Keal Harry

Overall pick: 32

College: Arizona State. Position: WR. Height/Weight: 6-2/228

Hometown: Chandler, Ariz. High school: Chandler

By the numbers: Harry played in 37 games over three seasons for Arizona State. He caught 213 passes for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns with two 1,000-yard seasons. He was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team for his sophomore and junior seasons before forgoing his senior season to enter the draft.


Early impressions: Harry was recruited by Texas A&M, Oregon, and USC while at Chandler, but he chose Arizona State to stay closer to home. His athleticism was known before he became a Sun Devil. While playing for the basketball team his senior year in high school, he did his best Darryl Dawkins impression by shattering a backboard with an in-game dunk.

Harry was born in Toronto but moved to St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a baby. He moved to Arizona when he was four with his grandmother, Felna Harry. He’s the first wide receiver coach Bill Belichick has ever drafted in the first round, but he adds youth to an older Patriots receiving core, and fills a need after Chris Hogan’s departure to the Panthers.

Sizing him up: Physically, Harry is similar to newly signed Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (6-3, 229). He’s not a particularly fast receiver (4.53 40-yard dash), but makes up for it with his hands and strength. Tedy Bruschi told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that the Patriots acquiring 6-3, 225-pound Josh Gordon paved the way for Harry’s selection.


“They get him last year, put a 6-3, 225-pound target out there and see what a great piece it was for them, how great it was for Tom Brady,” Bruschi said. “Maybe that changed the perception of what they might need.”

Grandma’s boy: Felna attended every one of her grandson’s football games when he was growing up, even while she was working two jobs to support him.

“It means a lot for me to be able to take care of her. That’s the least I can do,” Harry told The Arizona Republic.

A different fit: In one sense, Harry doesn’t fit the profile of a prototypical Patriot. For a team that loves versatility, Harry isn’t exactly a Swiss Army knife. He ran the ball a few times in college (scoring two touchdowns), threw a couple of passes (one touchdown, one interception), and had a handful of punt returns, including a 92-yard touchdown against Southern Cal last year. Harry played a little bit out of the slot.

But that’s not really his game. Harry is a big, outside receiver, who can catch jump balls and back-shoulder throws and will use his size to punish cornerbacks in the run game.

“We’ll start him at one spot, and then see wherever that goes from there,” Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said Thursday.

-Ben Volin

Joejuan Williams

Overall pick: 45

College: Vanderbilt. Position: CB. Height/Weight: 6-4, 211

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn. High school: Father Ryan (Nashville)


By the numbers: In 2018, Williams recorded 61 tackles, 13 pass breakups, and four interceptions. He was named AP Second Team All-SEC and had 119 total tackles, four interceptions, and a forced fumble in 36 career games.

A sort of homecoming: For Williams, hearing his name called at the draft while it was taking place in Nashville was a dream come true. Like Harry, Williams stayed home for college after he was recruited by Alabama, Oklahoma, Penn State, Georgia, and Ohio State among other schools.

“I want to represent for the 615, and that’s something I plan on doing, bringing it up to Boston, bringing it up to Foxborough,” Williams said.

Difficult beginnings: At Father Ryan High School in Nashville, an assistant football coach kept a strict policy against sagging pants. Williams was breaking that policy one day when he caught the coach’s eye.

“He immediately pulled his pants up,” the assistant recalled, per The Tennessean. “But, geez, they were way too short.”

Williams, then 16 years old, had hit a growth spurt but could not afford new clothes. His single mother worked multiple jobs, but the family had still been evicted from numerous homes.

“I don’t like to go into detail about that,” Williams told the newspaper. “I just know that my mom is my superhero. She sacrificed and struggled for us, but she smiled through all of it.”

His mother, Stephanie Robertson, would make Williams practice his tackling skills on her. Vanderbilt released a short documentary that details his journey from a metro public school to a predominantly-white private school to college to the NFL. Every step of the journey took place in Nashville, including the draft.


-Mark Dunphy

Creative cornerback: Williams has a passion for drawing.

“I’ve been drawing since I was about five, six” Williams said on Good Morning Football. “I’ve loved to draw just from different comics ... I’m a big anime guy also. For me I’ve just [drawn] different forms of that. It’s always been big on me since I was a kid.”

Williams tried drawing a comic book when he was in seventh grade as well.

Film buff: Bill Belichick will love Williams’s commitment to film study.

“I watch film like I watch Game of Thrones,” Williams said.

Added versatility: Now the Patriots have a potentially elite duo at cornerback, similar to what they had in 2014. Stephon Gilmore, a first-team All-Pro, will play the role of Darrelle Revis, while Williams is the Brandon Browner.

Williams does have the versatility to play in the slot or move to safety, but covering those big receivers on the outside is where he will have the most value. The cornerbacks he most admires are Richard Sherman and Jalen Ramsey.

Williams doesn’t lack for confidence, which is important for a cornerback.

“I feel like I got the complete package,” he said Friday. “I can run, cover, and hit. If you look at all my numbers in the SEC, I was ranked first in everything.”


-Ben Volin

Chase Winovich

Pick: 77

College: Michigan. Position: DE. Height/Weight: 6-3/256

Hometown: Jefferson Hills, Pa. High school: Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson Hills)

By the numbers: Vinovich racked up 18 sacks and 185 total tackles, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries in four seasons at Michigan. He earned Big Ten First Team honors in 2018.

“The biggest personality in the draft”: It’s safe to say Vinovich has some, well, life experience. When Vinovich was a kid, he ate a live fish for $20.

“I think I was in like fifth or sixth grade and I was real into Bear Grylls at the time,” he said. “Twenty dollars at that point in my life was a lot of money, so I did it. I think today I would have made a little more than $20.”

Vinovich also dated Madonna’s daughter and befriended Conor McGregor.

Go-to guy: While teammates Rashan Gary and Devin Bush generated most of the buzz, Winovich might have been Michigan’s most dependable defender.

He capped his career with the Wolverines by earning All-American honors, posting 69 tackles, including 17 for loss, and 5 sacks. They were actually a slight drop from 2017, when his 18 tackles for loss paced the Big Ten, along with 77 overall tackles and 8 sacks — more than either Gary or 2018 Oakland Raiders’ draft pick Maurice Hurst, Jr., who each had 5.5.

-Field Level Media

Damien Harris

Pick: 87

College: Alabama. Position: RB. Height/Weight: 5-10/216

Hometown: Richmond, Ky. High school: Madison Southern (Berea, Ky.)

By the numbers: Harris was part of the 2015 and 2017 national championship teams at Alabama. In four seasons and 54 games, he rushed for 3,070 yards (6.4 yards per carry), 23 touchdowns, and caught two touchdown passes. He had 1,000-yard seasons in 2016 and 2017 and was named Second-Team All-SEC in 2018.

Backfield consistency: Bringing Harris into the fold serves as a type of insurance policy at a position with a high injury rate. It’s important to remember Cordarrelle Patterson was taking handoffs from Tom Brady at points last season.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 216-pound Harris should serve as the top backup to Sony Michel, who missed time with two separate knee injuries during his rookie season. Harris, a rugged between-the-tackles runner, could give New England’s offense a boost in short-yardage situations, where it struggled at times last season.

-Jim McBride

Getting back together: Harris and fellow Patriots draftee Jarrett Stidham (fourth round) played youth football together in Madison County in Kentucky, then against each other in the Iron Bowl the last two years, but now will reunite.

“I’ve known Damien for basically my entire life it seems like and we’ve definitely kept in touch,’’ Stidham said Saturday. “I’m actually going to give him a shout and tell him how excited I am to play with him again. Life always comes full circle.’’

-Jim McBride

Yodny Cajuste

Pick: 101

College: West Virginia. Position: OL. Height/Weight: 6-5/312

Hometown: Miami, Fla: High school: Miramar

By the numbers: Cajuste was the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2018 and received AP and Coaches All-Big 12 First Team Honors. In 2018, the West Virginia offense produced 500 or more yards of total offense in eight games. He was a three-year starter at tackle and played in 31 games.

Versatile up front: Cajuste is quick off the snap in pass protection, generating depth in his kick-slide and often landing a forceful first punch to remind pass rushers that they are in for a battle.

Cajuste is equally combative in the running game, firing off the ball to initiate contact and working to finish his blocks. He shows some knee bend to win the leverage battle, as well as the hip snap to create torque and movement. Where he gets himself in trouble is occasionally ducking his head on contact — leaving him vulnerable to over-arm swim moves — and extending his long arms too far in last ditch efforts to control opponents.

-Field Level Media

Late start: Cajust didn’t play football until his senior year of high school, where he played offensive and defensive line at Miramar, but shot up to No. 42 on the Miami Herald’s Top 100 rankings.

Hjalte Froholdt

Pick: 118

College: Arkansas. Position: OL. Height/Weight: 6-5/306

Hometown: Svendborg, Denmark. High school: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

By the numbers: Froholdt was named Second Team All-SEC by the AP in 2018. He played four seasons at Arkansas but transitioned to offensive lineman from defensive lineman after his freshman season. He appeared in 47 games for the Razorbacks. He did not allow a sack in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

A long journey: Froholdt came to the U.S. from Denmark during his sophomore year of high school. He arrived in Warren, Ohio as a foreign exchange student before transferring to IMG Academy.

What’s in a name?: The phonetic pronunciation of Froholdt’s full name is YELL-duh FRO-holt.

“Some people thought it was pretty hard to pronounce my name, so they just called me ‘Denmark,’” Froholdt told reporters in a conference call. “But it’s not too hard. I guess I’ve had a couple (nicknames) that I really don’t quite remember.”

A steal of a pick: Before he emerged as a potential steal in the draft, Froholdt first thought of himself as a potential stealer. No, not a Pittsburgh Steeler, but rather, someone who stole paintings.

That’s right. Long before he knew what football was, he and his friend Carl envisioned themselves as future art thieves in France. Essentially, they wanted to be burglars.

“You know, you grow up and figure out that’s kind of frowned upon,” Froholdt told reporters. “Obviously, the dream changed. I think my mom still has paintings of me [drawing] stick figures stealing diamonds in France.”

-Trevor Hass

Jarrett Stidham

Pick: 133

College: Auburn. Position: QB Height/Weight: 6-2/218

Hometown: Corbin, Ky. High school: Stephenville (Tex.)

By the numbers: After graduating from high school in 2015, Stidham played one season for Baylor before transferring to McLennan Community College in Waco, Tex. and did not play football. He then went to Auburn and played for two seasons. In three seasons, Stidham passed for 7,217 yards with 48 touchdowns (he rushed for nine more), and a 64.2 completion percentage. He was first-team All-SEC in 2017.

An easy fit: Stidham has great raw skills, with an accurate arm and good touch on his throws. He’s viewed as a player who could use time to develop, which he’ll get behind Tom Brady in New England. He’ll compete with Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling for a backup role.

Stidham has traits the Patriots like. He’s accurate and protects the ball, with a 36-to-11 TD-INT ratio his last two seasons at Auburn, and was a team captain. It was evident from Stidham’s conference call that he has leadership qualities — confidence and an ability to connect with people. He uses a lot of first names.

Stidham took a top-30 visit to New England. He had lunch with Etling, and talked with McDaniels and Belichick. Stidham said he did a lot of board work with the Patriots and that they tested his ability to retain information, teaching him plays early in the morning and asking him to regurgitate them later in the afternoon.

-Nora Princiotti

Byron Cowart

Pick: 159

College: Maryland. Position: DL Height/Weight: 6-3/298

Hometown: Seffner, Fla. High school: Armwood

By the numbers: Cowart played just one season at Maryland after coming over from Auburn. He recorded 36 total tackles, five tackles for a loss, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Auburn, appearing in 23 games.

From best to bust and back: Prior to the 2015 season, Cowart was considered the top high school recruit in the country by Rivals.

From The Globe’s Nora Princiotti and Rachel G. Bowers: Cowart underperformed at Auburn and wound up transferring to Maryland. He had 10 sacks over the last two seasons rushing from the interior. He was also a team captain for the Terrapins this past year, something the Patriots look for. He met with New England representatives at the Senior Bowl this year. Cowart is similar physcially to current Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy. He projects as an interior rusher in the NFL. Defensive line was an area of need for New England following the free agency departures of Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton.

Jake Bailey

Pick: 163

College: Stanford. Position: P. Height/Weight: 6-2/202

Hometown: Solana Beach, Calif. High school: Santa Fe Christian

By the numbers: Bailey is Stanford’s all-time leader in punting average (43.81) and holds the school record for longest punt (84 yards). He was a two-time All-Pac 12 second-team selection (2017, 2018), and recorded 20 punts of 50 yards or more. He also handled kickoff duties, with 60 of 72 going for touchbacks.

Usually not right: It’s no secret Belichick has a penchant for left-footed punters (see Ryan Allen, Josh Miller, Zoltan Mesko, Ken Walter) so it’s interesting that the Patriots drafted Bailey, a right-footed punter.

Ken Webster

Pick: 252

College: Ole Miss. Position: CB. Height/Weight: 5-11/203

Hometown: Decatur, Ga. High school: Stockbridge (Ga.)

By the numbers: Webster missed his junior season (2016) after injuring his left knee on the first defensive series of the year, but he was among Ole Miss’s best defensive players. He made 122 tackles in four seasons with three interceptions. He also has a 4.43 40 time and a 43-inch vertical leap, which makes him one of the most athletic among this draft’s defensive backs.

Coming back from adversity: After his knee injury in 2016, Webster was arrested for shoplifting in 2017.