Patriots’ big haul of first-year players goes beyond this year’s draft

The Patriots added far more talent in the NFL draft than defending Super Bowl champions usually do, not just with first-round receiver N’Keal Harry and second-round cornerback Joejuan Williams, but also with three picks in the third round, two in the fourth and two in the fifth. But it doesn’t stop there.

New England will also get back offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, their first pick in 2018, who missed his entire rookie season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in the preseason. Whether Wynn is capable of winning a starting job this year remains to be seen, but he’s a first-round talent who didn’t play a down for the Patriots last year and is expected to this year.

Also expected to contribute this year after missing all of last year is the Patriots’ second-round pick, cornerback Duke Dawson, who opened last year on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and never played as a rookie. Dawson was healthy enough to play late last season, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was confident Dawson could contribute, but New England decided to go with more experienced players in the secondary down the stretch.

If Wynn and Dawson perform the way teams expect from first- and second-round picks, on top of the 2019 draft class, the Patriots may have as impressive an influx of young talent as any team in the league. The rich get richer.

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