We know: We shouldn't put too much stock into preseason stats.
After all, defensive end Trent Harris led the New England Patriots in sacks last preseason but didn't even crack the team's 53-man roster.
But Chase Winovich has done enough through his first two preseason games to warrant at least an eyebrow raise.
The Patriots' rookie edge rusher has amassed nine tackles and 2.5 sacks combined against the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans. According to Pro Football Focus, Winovich also has beaten his offensive line counterpart on 40 percent of pass rush snaps.
Since 2015, only Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison and Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Daeshon Hall have higher preseason pass rush grades, as Winovich also beat out Pro Bowler Olivier Vernon.
The #Patriots' Chase Winovich is pulling ahead of former teammate Rashan Gary in preseason.https://t.co/PGISbT58VS@PFF_Zoltan explains how the third-round pick is outperforming his former Michigan teammate and first-round pick. pic.twitter.com/NwbHmEeukR— PFF (@PFF) August 20, 2019
That's good company to be in, even if it's just the preseason. Addison has blossomed into one of the Panthers' best pass-rushers with 29.5 sacks over the past three seasons, while Vernon has 51 career sacks in seven seasons.
PFF's Zoltan Buday also notes Winovich, the 77th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is outperforming all rookie pass-rushers in its overall grades -- including fellow Michigan alum Rashan Gary, who went 12th overall to the Green Bay Packers.
"Gary has played 61 snaps and earned an overall grade of 56.5, which ranks 40th among rookie edge defenders, while Winovich’s grade of 92.2 on 66 snaps leads all rookie edge defenders," Buday writes.
Again, it's a small sample size, but Winovich's efforts through two games even drew rare praise from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who usually is hesitant to pump tires.
"Chase is very aggressive, fast. He has a relentless motor," Belichick said Monday in an interview on WEEI''s "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "All those things are good. He lacks some experience and there are some things he definitely needs to work on and can improve on, but he is a hard-working kid."
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