Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, and email, he’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
I know I’m getting ahead of myself since there have been only two preseason games. But it does look like the Patriots have a strong rookie class with players who could help at a bunch of different positions. Which rookie do you think has the biggest impact for the Patriots this year? I really like what I saw from Chase Winovich against the Titans. Had no idea he ran like that. – Peter R.
This is a good one, because there are about five choices that make a lot of sense. Winovich is definitely one of them – – he’s a blast to watch with that high motor and quickness, but there are so many useful players on the defense that I’d image he stands out in a supporting role rather than bursts onto the scene as the next Clay Matthews, a comp many like to make because he gets after the QB (at least in these JV games) and has a luxurious mane.
My pick would probably be N’Keal Harry – I know, original, given that he’s the first rounder. But the more I look at him, the more I wonder whether they drafted their next David Givens, a tough, physical receiver who is a threat in the red zone immediately and develops into a more complete receiver over time. Givens didn’t put up huge stats, and Harry might someday. But Givens owns one of the most remarkable statistics of this championship era, having scored a touchdown in seven straight playoff games. That is a lasting legacy.
Some might suggest rookie free agent receiver Jakobi Meyers will break through. He’s had a great camp by all accounts and has stood out in the two preseason games, but it’s still tough to gauge how much of an opportunity he’ll get, presuming he sticks on the final 53. (Seems like a safe bet now, but you never know.)
Haven’t heard much about second-rounder JoeJuan Williams in camp, but that doesn’t mean much. Another hard hitter in the defensive backfield would be immediately popular. Third-round running back Damien Harris could get more of an opportunity than we realize right now, if the Patriots emphasize keeping Sony Michel healthy and rested. And Josh Bailey has already beaten out a darned good punter in Ryan Allen. Hopefully he doesn’t have too many chances to prove how good he is, but we already know he has secured an important job.
Jarrett Stidham? Perish the thought. This is a redshirt year. One of a couple, probably.
I’m going with the cop-out pick and taking Harry. But this is an intriguing group of rookies.
What does everyone else think? Which Patriots rookie will have the biggest impact in ’19? I’ll hear you in the comments.