2019 NFL Draft

Bielema excited Patriots landed 'dynamic' Dane, former recruit Froholdt

Bielema excited Patriots landed 'dynamic' Dane, former recruit Froholdt

FOXBORO -- When Hjalte Froholdt chose to make the University of Arkansas his new home, Bret Bielema got a bit of a wakeup call from Froholdt's parents as to just how important that decision was for their son.

"I had a chance to say goodbye to his mom and dad," Bielema remembered last week. "You know, being the head coach at Wisconsin or Arkansas, when you say, 'My kid's coming,' usually he's going to fly a couple states away.

"His mom grabbed me and she's like, 'I'm giving you my son, and tomorrow I'm going to fly halfway around the world.' . . . There's a moment. I'm like, 'All right.' "

Froholdt, a fourth-round pick of the Patriots last month, grew up in Denmark and came to the States as an exchange student as a sophomore in high school. He'd been introduced to football when he was 12, continuing to grow and improve as he played at IMG Academy in Florida, eventually turning himself into a Division 1 recruit.

"I always had an interest in football but mainly it was because I wanted the American experience," Froholdt said soon after the Patriots selected him. "I wanted to get better at football and take it back to Denmark, and maybe play a little bit better back in Denmark and learn something. But, of course, there's always been dreams. We kind of just talked about how it seemed unrealistic about college and the NFL and whatnot.

"It was never really the intention. I came over wanting to get a super-sized meal and drive some big cars, and it turned out as something really different."

At Arkansas under Bielema, who is now coaching Patriots' defensive linemen, Froholdt transitioned from defensive line to offensive line and was a key cog in the team's power-running schemes. Last year, under a new coaching staff, the Razorbacks played more of a spread style.

"I've just seen from film the Patriots are really multiple," Froholdt said. "They do a bunch of things that try to confuse defenses. I'm excited to try to be a part of it. I need to get there to really figure out what's going on before I can really say anything about how I'll fit in. But I'm just excited to come in and get to know everybody and try to earn some respect in that organization."

Given where the Patriots took him -- Trey Flowers and Shaq Mason are recent fourth-round success stories in New England -- there's already a measure of respect for Froholdt in the organization. And that's despite Froholdt admitting he did not spend much time with team representatives during the pre-draft process.

Bielema's relationship with the player, known simply as "Denmark" to some former teammates, surely played a role in Froholdt ending up in Foxboro for last weekend's rookie minicamp.

It was Bielema who was on the phone almost immediately after Froholdt found out he was being selected. That's a bit unusual -- typically Bill Belichick gets on the horn with players pretty quickly -- but it was fitting given the relationship Froholdt and Bielema ("Coach B") forged years prior during the college recruiting process.

"I've been a part of a lot of different cool phone calls but I never been on the side of telling someone that they're drafted or their opportunity has come true," Bielema said. "I've been there right after the draft. I've been there for different parties but that one was a pretty cool circle. Just the uniqueness of recruiting a player from Denmark -- how many times you get to do that?

"To have him come full circle, I'm excited about him and his opportunity. You guys will enjoy him. He's got a personality. I know we'll put a little wall around him, but I think Hjalte is very dynamic. He's a great person, a great player, and I'm excited for him to see what he can do."

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Resetting Patriots' 2019 depth chart after busy NFL draft weekend

Resetting Patriots' 2019 depth chart after busy NFL draft weekend

The New England Patriots' roster just got a lot more crowded.

The Patriots emerged from the 2019 NFL Draft with 10 selections, their biggest haul since taking 11 players in 2015. They also added 10 players as undrafted free agents, meaning a total of 20 new players joined New England this past weekend.

That brings the Patriots roster to a full 90 players, nearly half of which will be released before Week 1. What does the competition look like for the new guys as the new season begins? Let's find out.

Below is New England's updated depth chart as of Monday morning, with draftees listed in bold and undrafted free agent signings listed in italics. All rookies are listed at the bottom of their respective positions for now, but several -- notably first-round pick N'Keal Harry -- likely will vault higher over the next few months.

Tom Brady
Brian Hoyer
Danny Etling
Jarrett Stidham

Sony Michel
James White
Rex Burkhead
Brandon Bolden
Damien Harris
Nick Brossette

Julian Edelman
Phillip Dorsett
Demaryius Thomas
Matthew Slater
Braxton Berrios
Dontrelle Inman
Maurice Harris
Damoun Patterson
N’Keal Harry
Ryan Davis 
Jakobi Meyers
Xavier Ubosi

James Develin
Jakob Johnson (signed via NFL's international program)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Matt LaCosse
Ryan Izzo
Stephen Anderson
Jacob Hollister
Andrew Beck

LT Isaiah Wynn
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT Marcus Cannon
LT Cole Croston
LG Ted Karras
C James Ferentz
RG Brian Schwenke
RT Dan Skipper
LT Cedrick Lang
C Jake Eldrenkamp
RT Ryker Matthews
LT Yodny Cajuste
RT Hjalte Froholdt

OT Tyree St. Louis

Michael Bennett
John Simon
Deatrich Wise
Keionta Davis
Derek Rivers
Trent Harris
Ufomba Kamalu
Chase Winovich

Lawrence Guy
Mike Pennel
Adam Butler
Frank Herron
Ufomba Kamalu
David Parry
Byron Cowart

Kyle Van Noy
Dont’a Hightower
Ja’Whaun Bentley
Elandon Roberts
Brandon King
Calvin Munson
Christian Sam
Terez Hall

Stephon Gilmore
JC Jackson
Jason McCourty
Jonathan Jones
Duke Dawson
Keion Crossen
Joejuan Williams
Ken Webster

Devin McCourty
Patrick Chung
Duron Harmon
Terrence Brooks
Nate Ebner
A.J. Howard 
Obi Melifonwu

K Stephen Gostkowski
LS Joe Cardona
P Ryan Allen
P Jake Bailey

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Lombardi: Patriots will ask themselves if trading out of second round was right move

Lombardi: Patriots will ask themselves if trading out of second round was right move

We're more than a week removed from draft weekend. Rookies will be making their way to Foxboro soon. But that doesn't mean we can't wonder how things might've played out differently. 

That's exactly what the Patriots did after the draft, according to former assistant to the coaching staff Mike Lombardi. On The GM Shuffle, his podcast with Adnan Virk, Lombardi explained that Bill Belichick and his staff would've gone back and looked at the draft to see what they could've learned from the process -- almost like breaking down film after a game to see what needed to be corrected.

Lombardi used the Raiders draft as his jumping-off point for the discussion on the importance of reviewing the weekend.

"You should always take snapshots of the board," Lombardi said. "Good teams take snapshots of their draft board. Let's say at No. 14 we take a snapshot. At No. 19 we take a snapshot. At No. 24 when we're on the clock [we take a snapshot].

"What you want to do [following the draft] is you want to go back in the room. You want to look at this and say, 'You know what, I think we blew an opportunity here.' We picked [Josh] Jacobs at No. 24. Look at the board here. We could've done this. We could've done that.' Then do it for the second round. Do it for the third round. What happens is you just start becoming a very false duality A-to-B, A-to-B, A-to-B as opposed to really taking a step back and looking at it."

Lombardi, who was in the Patriots "war room" for drafts during his tenure in New England, explained the Patriots are among those teams that take snapshots of their board mid-draft.

"This week, the smart teams, like New England, they've taken snap shots of the board. They know when they were sitting there at the bottom of the second and they traded out, they lost potentially some good players. They got the guy in the third, they picked, I think, Damien Harris in the third. But they lost some good players. 

"They'll go back and re-visit, was that the right trade to make? Would we rather have a receiver, say Jalen Hurd who got picked by San Francisco at the top [of the third round]? Or the defensive lineman from Boston College? Whatever it is. You have to look at that and analyze it because if you don't, then you're just sitting there. Then you're just a fan."

The Patriots made four trades on Day 2 of the draft, but the one to which Lombardi is referring is when they dealt No. 64 -- their second second-round pick -- to the Seahawks. In return, Belichick received pick No. 77 and No. 118. That left the Patriots staring at No. 73 as their next pick, with No. 77 right on its heels.

That gap from No. 64 to No. 73, though, as Lombardi referenced, saw some intriguing Patriots fits fly off the board. Zach Allen, the defensive lineman from BC, was taken at No. 65. Hurd went off to the Niners at No. 67. San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver -- who has Rob Gronkowski-sized hands and some intriguing traits as a move tight end -- was selected by the Jaguars at pick No. 69.

When it was time for the Patriots to pick at No. 73, they opted to trade back again. In that deal they packaged No. 73 and No. 205 to get No. 87 and No. 162.

Perhaps at that point in the draft they felt as though the player they wanted all along would still be there at No. 77. That's where they ended up taking Michigan pass-rusher Chase Winovich. If that was the case, then why not continue to trade back and pick up draft capital?

The flip side to that . . . Perhaps the Patriots had their eyes on Allen or Hurd or someone else at No. 73. When one of those players didn't get there, then the call was made to trade back again.

By trading out of No. 73 and picking next at No. 77, the Patriots lost the opportunity to take running back David Montgomery (No. 73), tight end Jace Sternberger (No. 75) and receiver Terry McLaurin (No. 76). Had they felt very strongly about one or more of those players, they could've pounced at No. 73. They didn't.

But consider this alternate reality: The Patriots take Allen at No. 64 and Sternberger at No. 73 -- a combination that might've been met with rave reviews from fans and addressed a need at the tight end spot. The Patriots instead ended up with Winovich at No. 77, Harris at No. 87 and Hjalte Froholdt at No. 118. Pick No. 162 was traded to the Rams, who dealt it back to the Patriots, who eventually used it to help them land defensive lineman Byron Cowart at No. 159.

Belichick and Nick Caserio ended up with a nice haul with the way things played out. But would they have preferred something different? It might be a while before any of us can say for sure. But those are the kind of "what if?" scenarios good teams roll through in the aftermath of the draft, according to Lombardi. 

"When you're sitting there watching it," he said, "instead of patting yourself on the back saying, 'Oh God, we got this board graded out right.' No, you gotta figure out what you could've done better. Look, we're in the information business. If you're not analyzing the data, how are you gonna get better?"

Click here for Tom E. Curran's AFC Power Rankings>>>>

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