Hjalte Froholdt

East Notes: Patriots, LaCosse, Jets, Eagles

Now that Austin Seferian-Jenkins is out of the picture, the Patriots seem likely to go with Matt LaCosse are their top tight end in Week 1, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes. The Patriots made a minor splash by signing Ben Watson earlier this offseason, but he’ll have to sit on the sidelines for the first four games of the season due to his PED violation. That leaves LaCosse, blocking tight end Ryan Izzo, and UDFA Andrew Beck, and LaCosse is the best pass catcher of the bunch.

LaCosse hasn’t produced much at the pro level, but there’s reason to believe that he can be a late bloomer. LaCosse saw 38% of the Broncos’ snaps last year and he could be poised to take another step forward in 2019.

If LaCosse doesn’t cut it in camp, Volin speculates that the Patriots could explore a trade for Kyle Rudolph, though it would require some salary cap magic. The Patriots could also kick the tires on former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin, who would seem to be a fit for the system.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • Former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan got a little too cute in the draft and wound up losing out on one of his mid-round targets, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears. The Jets had their eyes on Arkansas interior lineman Hjalte Froholdt with the third pick of the fourth round (No. 105 overall) before moving down to the No. 116 pick in order to add a fifth-round pick to their arsenal. Then, they traded down yet again to No. 121, allowing the Pats to scoop up Froholdt with the No. 118 pick. Maccagnan’s maneuvering also cost the club Oklahoma offensive lineman Dru Samia, another target of the team who could have helped at the center position. After all that movement, they wound up settling for West Virginia blocking tight end Trevon Wesco at No. 121 overall.
  • Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby is still aiming to play in Week 1 and expects to participate in training camp, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Darby has missed 17 games (counting the postseason) since joining the Eagles prior to the 2017 season.

Patriots Sign Jarrett Stidham, Three Other Draft Picks

The day after signing Benjamin Watson, the Patriots have wrapped up most of their draft class. The team announced the signing of four of their remaining picks today. After inking second round pick Joejuan Williams and two others yesterday, only first round receiver N’Keal Harry and third-rounders defensive end Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris remain unsigned.

  • 4-118: OL Hjalte Froholdt (Arkansas)
  • 4-133: QB Jarrett Stidham (Auburn)
  • 5-163: P Jake Bailey (Stanford)
  • 7:252: CB Ken Webster (Ole Miss)

The Patriots’ drafting of Stidham of course raised some eyebrows because of the position he plays. Stidham had a down year at Auburn in 2018, but many observers chalked that up more to the poor offense he was playing in rather than anything he was doing wrong. After his 2017 season the former Baylor transfer was thought of as a potential Day 2 pick, but his stock took a bit of a tumble last year. 

He’ll now get the chance to develop behind Tom Brady, and could potentially position himself as the heir apparent if he shows well. The Patriots have drafted a handful of quarterbacks in recent years, as early as the second round with Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2014. They drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round in 2016, and both quarterbacks ended up getting traded.

Bailey was a bit of a surprising pick in the fifth round because the Patriots already had an established punter. Ryan Allen has been the team’s punter since 2013, and he just recently re-signed with the team in March. The drafting of Bailey so early would seem to suggest they aren’t entirely sold on Allen.

Froholdt is a Denmark native who has a lot of experience at both guard and center. New England has invested heavily at center this offseason, and Froholdt could be a nice developmental piece.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.