Patriots select Maryland DT Byron Cowart with 159th pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Jan 24, 2019; Mobile, AL: North defensive end Byron Cowart of Maryland fends off a block by North offensive guard Michael Deiter of Wisconsin during the North squad 2019 Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
Jan 24, 2019; Mobile, AL: North defensive end Byron Cowart of Maryland fends off a block by North offensive guard Michael Deiter of Wisconsin during the North squad 2019 Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

From the Patriots Draft Hub at 985TheSportsHub.com

The New England Patriots selected Maryland defensive lineman Byron Cowart with the 159th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday. Bill Belichick traded up from 162 to 159 to draft Cowart, who earned an honorable mention on the All-Big 10 list in 2018.

A former five-star recruit out of high school, Cowart struggled at Auburn before moving back home to the Tampa area to take care of his sick mother. He then went on a second recruiting trip and landed at Maryland, where he started all 12 games and made 38 tackles (5 for loss) to go with 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble in 2018.

Cowart has the size (6-foot-3, 298 pounds) and length (34-inch arms) of an NFL-caliber defensive lineman. He may project as an interior defender long-term, but he has the versatility to play inside our outside.

His inconsistency and face-plant at Auburn hurt his ultimate draft stock. But Cowart clearly had some physical traits that enticed Bill Belichick, who with time could build him back up to the player he was supposed to be after his first recruit.

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