New England Patriots

Versatility is a long-standing trait that stands out among Bill Belichick’s draft picks and other roster additions throughout his tenure in New England. That pattern continued at the 2022 NFL draft over the weekend with the selection of cornerback and return specialist Marcus Jones.

Draft analysts praised his speed and overall versatility, with the ability to make an impact on both defense and special teams. He even got some snaps at wide receiver at Houston – and based on this tweet from NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein, there’s a chance he gets a look on offense from the Patriots, too.

The 5-foot-8 cornerback made five interceptions and 47 total tackles in 2021 for Houston. He also made big plays in the return game, including two touchdowns each on kick and punt returns. As a receiver, he snagged 10 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Similar to his new teammate Jabrill Peppers in his rookie year with the Browns, Jones comes to Foxboro as a potential triple threat in Belichick’s system.

PHOTOS: Patriots third-round pick Marcus Jones

What the draft experts are saying about the Patriots' late-round picks

  • With their final four picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Patriots added some serious edge. They took power running back Kevin Harris to start the sixth round, then added a defensive lineman in Sam Roberts and two offensive linemen, guard Chasen Hines and tackle Andrew Stueber.

    Will there be any late round gems from this group? Here’s what the expert scouting reports said about the four before the draft.

  • RB Kevin Harris, South Carolina

    Running back Kevin Harris #20 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball during the second quarter during their game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    Running back Kevin Harris #20 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball during the second quarter during their game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    Lance Zierlein, NFL.com:

    “Big, bruising runner with good vision and the self-awareness to understand that power running is what will butter his bread. His 2021 productivity fell off from 2020, due in part to health issues, shared carries and average South Carolina run blocking. He creates for himself with contact and tackle-breaking talent, but typically drops and finishes against an open-field tackler rather than avoiding him. He’s a chain mover with excellent ball security as a battering ram inside. He will be limited as an outside runner and needs to come off the field on passing downs. Harris has talent and his impressive 2020 was no mirage. He’s a good Day 3 option for teams looking to upgrade their power.”

    Joe Marino, The Draft Network:

    “Kevin Harris put together a breakout campaign for South Carolina in 2020, where he led the SEC in rushing and collected 15 rushing touchdowns. Returning from offseason back surgery, Harris’ production dipped in 2021 and he shared the workload. Harris is a downhill runner with good vision, power, contact balance, and decision-making skills. He runs angry and has a surprising amount of elusiveness for his body type and running style. He is surprisingly light on his feet and fluid when stringing together moves. When it comes to concerns, Harris has a lot to prove in terms of his ability to contribute on passing downs. While he wasn’t featured at all as a receiver and has only executed a limited route tree with too many drops, he also wasn’t given many reps in pass protection. It’s one thing to not be a dynamic receiving threat, but a back of his stature should provide value in pass protection. He should be a dynamic short-yardage back at the next level that thrives between that tackles.”

    Tommy Garrett, Pro Football Network:

    “It’s hard to be an optimist when you go into a new season. You look at players through rose-tinted glasses and believe they will take the next step in their evolution. Two guys fit the bill for me last year in this category. One was Oklahoma transfer, Eric Gray, and the other was Harris. Unfortunately, neither helped their draft stock. Actually, they dropped, if anything.

    Harris was a breakout RB in 2020. A bruising, powerful back, Harris was second in the SEC in rushing with 1,138 yards and 15 TDs on 185 attempts. Despite being what you would call an angry rusher, Harris showed a surprising amount of elusiveness. I’d consider him to have NFL-average levels of between-the-tackles and open-field agility.

    It’s not his calling card to make a defender miss in a phone booth. He uses his shoulder for that. When my film grading was over on Harris, his principal characteristics are the ones you would expect for a 220-pound RB — contact balance, physicality, and tackle-breaking ability.

    Averaging 1.84 YPTP (yards per team play), Harris boosted his value by adding 21 receptions — albeit for only 159 yards and a single TD. Add in five games of over 100 yards and games of 243 and 210 against LSU and Kentucky, respectively, and you can see why people were excited for him to take the next step. Unfortunately, that never happened.”

  • DL Sam Roberts, Northwest Missouri State

    Defensive tackle Sam Roberts playing for the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. (Photo courtesy Northwest Missouri State University Athletics)

    Defensive tackle Sam Roberts playing for the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. (Photo courtesy Northwest Missouri State University Athletics)

    CBSSports.com:

    Strengths: Versatile interior defender that has produced at a high level. Tested well in terms of speed and strength to go along with good size.

    Weaknesses: Has battled injuries through his playing career. Steeper learning curve making the jump from Northwest Missouri State to the NFL.

     

  • IOL Chasen Hines, LSU

    Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State offensive lineman Chasen Hines (OL20) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State offensive lineman Chasen Hines (OL20) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Lance Zierlein, NFL.com:

    “Burly, strong center/guard prospect whose strengths lend themselves to a fit with a power-based rushing attack. Hines can create run lanes as an aggressive drive blocker and is effective hitting targets on the move on pin-and-pull reps. He needs to drop some weight and improve his hand placement in order to sustain blocks as a pro. He protects the pocket with decent technique but might not have enough mirror to keep the gaps clean as a full-time guard. Hines has early backup value along the interior line with eventual starting talent that is best-suited at the center spot.”

    Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network:

    “Positives: Agile, quick offensive lineman who bends his knees, sets with a wide base, and blocks with leverage. Explosive at the point and fires into blocks. Patient in pass protection, stays square, and works well with linemates. Strong, works his hands throughout the action, and knocks opponents from the line of scrimmage.

    Negatives: Struggles to finish blocks or control opponents. Late picking up stunts or blitzes. Coming off a disappointing season.

    Analysis: Hines presented himself as a serious Day 2 prospect in 2020. However, his play regressed last season. He possesses the size and style to be used at guard or center, though Hines must really get his game back on track.”

  • OL Andrew Stueber, Michigan

    Michigan offensive lineman Andrew Stueber blocks during the spring game Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. (Syndication: Detroit Free Press)

    Michigan offensive lineman Andrew Stueber blocks during the spring game Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. (Syndication: Detroit Free Press)

    Lance Zierlein, NFL.com:

    “Beefy right tackle prospect who succeeds with toughness and strength. Stueber is split-low with excess girth across his torso and might have teams considering him as both a guard and a tackle. He’s strong in his uppers and lowers but would benefit from better bend for increased leverage. He plays with good feel for pocket depth and can neutralize power rushers but will have trouble successfully setting out to NFL edge speed. He’s built for power and gap run schemes but is more of a neutralizer than finisher. Toughness, size, strength and potential as a two-position player add to his chances of playing in the league.”

    Tony Pauline, The Draft Network:

    “Positives: Large, wide-bodied blocker who is best in a small area. Plays smart, tough football, keeps his head on a swivel, and immediately recognizes blitzes. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and sinks his butt at the line of scrimmage. Explosive at the point, fires off the snap into blocks, and turns defenders from the line to open up running lanes. Consistently blocks with proper pad level, works his hands throughout the action, and anchors in pass protection.

    Negatives: Struggles to adjust and gets beaten by speed rushers. Average skill blocking in motion and cannot hit a moving target.

    Analysis: Stueber was a solid tackle at Michigan and looked terrific when moved into guard during Senior Bowl practices. More of a power gap lineman, he’s a Day 3 pick who could start in the right system on Sundays.”

    Brandon Thorn, Bleacher Report:

    “Stueber is a two-year starter inside Michigan’s multiple, run-heavy offense with 20 career starts at right tackle and two at right guard. He has a top-heavy build with a narrow, stiff lower half.

    Stueber excels as a run-blocker, using precise aiming points on double-teams to consistently fit and seal off first-level defenders, with the leg drive to uproot and displace them off their spot. He’s also adept at knocking defensive tackles off-balance to feed them to the guard before his release on combo blocks. He shows a firm grasp of the play’s intent by knowing when and how to reposition himself on blocks to help define the read for runners and open up rushing lanes.

    In pass protection, Stueber wins with good mental processing and patience to diagnose, pass off and pick up line games and stunts. He is substantially better in protection against tightly aligned rushers when he doesn’t have to operate in as much space, staying square in his pass set with sharp, jolting independent strikes to keep rushers at his fingertips.

    Stueber will need to move inside in the NFL due to limited range at tackle that hinders his ability to protect the corner and poor lateral quickness to redirect against inside counters and movement across his face. He also needs to play with better pad level and hand placement on angle-drive blocks as a run-blocker to improve his ability to control and sustain. Kicking inside won’t eliminate these issues completely, but it will help alleviate them and give him the best chance at carving out a long-term role in the NFL.

    Overall, Stueber has the stature, length, mental processing and craftiness with his hands in pass protection to make the move inside, carve out a role as a backup and have some developmental upside as a potential spot starter down the road.”

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