Patriots Former 2nd-Round Pick Being Called the ‘Next to Go’

Getty Joejuan Williams

The New England Patriots traded N’Keal Harry, a former first-round pick in 2019, to the Chicago Bears for a lowly seventh-round pick on July 13.

The trade ended a massively failed marriage between the team and the promising but disappointing wide receiver. Before the Patriots traded Harry to the Bears, earlier in the offseason, they sent edge rusher Chase Winovich, taken in the third round that year, to the Cleveland Browns for Mack Wilson.

There is a good chance the Patriots may not be done dumping failed picks from the 2019 NFL Draft. ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss hints that cornerback and a second-round pick in 2019, Joejuan Williams, could be the “next to go.”

“The Patriots have already moved on from two of their top three picks from ’19,” Reiss wrote. And few would be surprised if 2019 second-rounder Joejuan Williams, a defensive back from Vanderbilt, is the next to go. He projects as a long shot to make this year’s roster.”


Joejuan Williams’ Tenure With the Patriots Has Been Forgettable

Williams has been a bit more available than Harry was with the team but almost as ineffective on the field. In three seasons, Williams has missed 13 games. He has yet to record an interception and has just 8 pass breakups. According to Pro Football Reference, Williams has registered an approximate value score of 1 in each of his three seasons.

According to Pro Football Focus, Williams didn’t play enough snaps from scrimmage to be ranked, but his defensive grade of 59.3 would be tied for 77th in the NFL at his position. None of those totals are especially impressive, and when you consider they are attached to a player the Patriots selected in the second round just three years ago, it’s especially concerning.

Williams, 24, stands 6’4″ and is listed at 208 pounds. He has excellent size for the position, but he’d never been able to make the expected impact. With the emergence of third-year safety Kyle Dugger, the signing of Jabril Peppers, and the presence of veterans Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips, Williams may not have many snaps available.

The trade market for Harry was light, but it is likely going to be non-existent for Williams. It is likely to come via a release if the separation between the Patriots and Williams happens soon. Williams will probably find another team willing to give him a chance to start anew, considering he’s still so young.


A Closer Look at the Patriots’ Awful 2019 NFL Draft Haul

During New England’s past successful 20-plus seasons, they have hit the jackpot multiple times on draft day. There is the obvious sixth-round selection of Tom Brady, but there are others. In 2010 alone, the Patriots drafted Rob Gronkowski in the second round and McCourty in the first.

As good as that draft and others have been in the Bill Belichick era, the 2019 haul might be the worst.

Harry was drafted in the first round, and over the course of three seasons, he didn’t compile more receptions, yards, or TDs than he had in any one year in college at Arizona State. Williams was taken in the second round and hasn’t made an impact.

Winovich was a third-round pick, and he was just dealt. Perhaps the saving grace of the draft has been Damien Harris. While he sat most of his rookie season, he has led the team in rushing in each of the last two years.

Later in the third round, the Patriots selected Yodny Cajuste, and he has played in just 7 games in three years. Hjalte Froholdt never played for the Patriots and was waived in 2020.

Fourth-round pick and supposed successor to Brady, Jarrett Stidham, never won the starting job and was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders where he will be reunited with former offensive coordinator and current head coach for the Silver and Black.

Fifth-round pick Byron Cowart was on injured reserve last year but has played well in spots. He could be a major contributor in 2022. If Harris isn’t the best part of the 2019 NFL Draft for the Patriots, fifth-round pick Jake Bailey gets the nod. Bailey is the only player from the draft class to make a Pro Bowl. The 25-year-old punter was first-team All-Pro in 2020.

A seventh-round pick, Ken Webster was released after training camp of his first season. He played in 8 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2019 with 5 starts. Webster spent nine games with the San Francisco 49ers in 2020 but was out of the NFL in 2021.

What happened in the spring of 2019? We don’t know, but the Patriots never want to have a draft or crop of rookies like that one again.

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