While it may not possess the pomp and circumstance of the NFL Draft’s Opening Night (or even Day Two) the third and final day of the NFL Draft is not without its share of significance. Anyone questioning this fact, need only be taken back to 2000. During that Draft, the New England Patriots selected a “lanky, and kind of slow” quarterback from Michigan with the 199th overall selection.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Patriots were certainly active on the third and final day of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Here is a look at New England’s Day Three selections:
Fifth Round, 159th Selection: Justin Rohrwasser, PK, Marshall
The Patriots wasted no time in raising the eyebrows, as well as the ire, of its fanbase. Not only did they select a place kicker with their first selection in the fifth round, they selected one with an added touch of controversy.
Rohrwasser started his career at the University of Rhode Island, where he played for two seasons before transferring to Marshall. He set a URI record by scoring points in one game, consisting of three field goals and five extra points. After spending two years at URI, Rohrwasser transferred to Marshall. His 2019 season saw a palpable refinement of his skill. Rohrwasser went 18 of 21 on field goal attempts, while also serving as Marshall’s kickoff specialist. His most memorable came on 53-yard game-winning field goal in the rain against rival Western Kentucky. That gave Marshall a 26-23 Homecoming win. It also put the cap on a day on which he went 4 for 4 in the weather-hindered contest.
Rohrwasser’s efforts earned him Conference USA’s Special Teams Player of the Year award and put him on the map for many NFL scouts, who saw him perform on Marshall’s pro day on March 11 — the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.
Despite his on-field prowess, Rohrwasser’s character was called into question. Shortly after being drafted by New England, reports began to surface that Rohrwasser displays a tattoo on his left arm, consistent with the markings of “The Three Percenters,” a right-wing militia group that first formed in 2008. During his introductory teleconference with the media on Saturday, Rohrwasser explained that the tattoo was not representative of the militia group. Instead, he believed it to be in support of several members of his family who serve in the military. Rohrwasser expressed that he plans to get the tattoo covered up.
Sixth Round, 182nd Selection: Michael Onwenu, G, Michigan
To commence the sixth round, New England addressed a need for depth on the offensive line…and they did so in a big way.
At nearly 6’4” and weighing 350lbs, Onwenu is a massive guard with excellent length. He overwhelms defenders in the run game and anchors well when protecting the passer. It is a rare occasion on which he is easily bypassed by a pass rusher. His size somewhat limits his athleticism, but can thrive in a power scheme. During his time at Michigan, he primarily lined up at right guard. However, he did start a game left guard in 2017.
Perhaps the most useful attribute credited to Michael Onwenu is durability. He started all 26 games for Michigan over the last two years, and played 12 games in a backup role as a sophomore in 2017
Sixth Round, 195th Selection: Justin Herron G, Wake Forest
The Patriots continued to add complementary pieces on their offensive line in drafting Wake Forest’s Justin Herron. Herron started for Wake Forest across four seasons, bouncing back nicely from an ACL tear in 2018. There are positive components to his work in pass protection in terms of how he frames rushers and keeps them at the end of his reach. He is a patient lineman, that works to stay square on the perimeter while displaying decent quickness in his feet. Herron’s lack of functional strength and body control in the run game are restrictive to creating vertical push. Herron profiles as a developmental backup that offers versatility but may need to move inside to guard to make an impact on the Patriots’ offensive line.
Sixth Round, 204th Selection: Cassh Malui, LB, Wyoming
Malui is an athletic, and durable linebacker that started 10 of 11 games played games in 2018. During that season, he notched 47 tackles, six for loss, one interception, three pass breakups. In 2019, he started all 13 contests as a senior compiling 61 tackles, seven for loss and two interceptions.
He has a quick starting step, and maintains his agility when moving laterally. However, he struggles when attempting to leverage gaps and take on blockers. In order to succeed in New England, he will need to develop consistent recognition of play development. If relied upon to be an asset only at the linebacker position, Maluia might be a long shot to secure a roster spot. However, his speed and short-area movement skills may make him a special teams asset.
Seventh Round, 230th Selection: Dustin Woodard, C, Memphis
Woodard is stable interior lineman who is known for his versatility and durability. He saw action in 54 games, making 52 starts. This set a Memphis record for most starts by an offensive lineman. Woodard also holds the school record for most games played by an offensive lineman. On the field, he is a versatile performer on the line who moved from left guard (2016, 2017) to right guard (2018) to center (2019.) Woodard started all 14 games in his first full season playing center.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC