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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – OCTOBER 19: Khaleke Hudson #7 congratulates Josh Uche #6 of the Michigan Wolverines after a sack against Sean Clifford #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions as head coach Jim Harbaugh looks on during the third quarter on October 19, 2019 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. Penn State defeats Michigan 28-21. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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It’s almost time for training camp to begin in New England. And, after a post season of trades, free agency and draft picks, there are a lot of new faces in New England. Today, on New England Nation Extra, we break down the drafted rookies strengths and weaknesses.  

Safety Kyle Dugger was the 37th pick overall from Lenoir-Rhyne University, a division two school in North Carolina. But don’t let his lack of power-five play fool you, he has the ability to defend the deep zone, something that could help out with all of that man-to-man coverage the Patriots’ like to play. There are some concerns about his lack of experience with top competition, but his performance in the Senior Bowl curbed some of those doubts.

The Patriots have had success in the past with draft picks from the University of Michigan. This year, they selected Josh Uche in the third round. The Wolverine linebacker boasts a strong ability to pass rush and is explosive. His weakness lies in his lack of consistent playing time in Ann Arbor. In his senior year, he played just a little over 50 percent of the snaps.

Uche isn’t the only rookie linebacker. Alabama’s Anfernee Jennings will also make his way to Foxboro. He can do a little bit of everything. Jennings played primarily as an edge rusher for Nick Saban, but has been projected to be an outside linebacker in the NFL. There is a concern about the previous injuries that could hinder the rookie throughout the year.

Devin Asiasi will join the Patriots at the tight end position. The former UCLA Bruin moves well for his size and has decent athleticism.

New England also snagged tight end Dalton Keane from Virginia Tech. He’s an athletic and versatile talent who might make a case for a starting spot.

Kicker Justin Rohrwasser out of Marshall is  6’3″, 230 pounds. His above average size and great leg strength will be an asset for New England. However, he sometimes struggles with accuracy and consistency, something that will need to change if he wants to be successful.

And speaking of big men, Michael Onwenu comes from Michigan as a 6’3″, 344 pound guard who simply bullied opponents and anyone in his way. He will have to work on his footwork and eliminate some sloppiness to find his way onto the field.

Wake Forest grad, Justin Herron will look for a spot on the offensive line. He stands at 6-5, 305 pounds and boasts quickness and natural athleticism.

Linebacker Cassh Maluia out of Wymoning is also quick and versatile and can help out with special teams. 

Memphis’s Dustin Woodard wraps up the rookies. His former coaches say one of his biggest assets is his high football IQ.

With Tom Brady gone and the tight end position a question mark, many of these rookies have a chance to step on the field and make an impact in a Patriot uniform.

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