Over the course of the years, Bill Belichick has found many quality players in the NFL Draft. And in particular, he has been good at finding productive pass rushers.
Belichick has found his share of first-round pass-rushing talents including Chandler Jones, Richard Seymour, Dont'a Hightower, and Ty Warren. But he has also unearthed the likes of Jarvis Green, Tully Banta-Cain, and Trey Flowers in the middle rounds of the draft.
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It seems like Belichick has found his latest gem in 2019 third-round pick Chase Winovich. The Michigan product had a strong rookie season in which he recorded 5.5 sacks for the Patriots. That number may not seem huge, but few Patriots rookies have been able to generate that type of pressure during the Belichick era.
According to "Boston Sports Info" (@BostonSportsInf), Winovich is one of just two rookies to post at least 5.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits as a rookie with the Patriots under Belichick. The other to accomplish that feat? Chandler Jones.
That's some pretty good company for Winovich to be keeping. Jones has long been one of the NFL's better pass rushers and has totaled 96 sacks during his eight-year NFL career. Last year, he logged 19 sacks and a league-leading eight forced fumbles for the Arizona Cardinals.
As much as the Patriots would probably love to see Winovich put up those types of numbers in future seasons, their focus should be on coaching him up heading into his second year. And if they give him a bigger role than he had last year -- Winovich played fewer than 30 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2019 -- his numbers and overall impact on the game should increase.
We'll soon see what Winovich has in store for the upcoming season. And we'll see if the Patriots look to add to their arsenal of weapons on the defensive line during the 2020 NFL Draft. They could use another good pass rusher to pair with Winovich long-term, so perhaps they'll consider spending one of their 12 picks on a player at that position.