Patriots' Kraft: Consistently good teams are built through draft, not free agency
The New England Patriots have been one of the NFL's most active teams this offseason, but Robert Kraft knows the job isn't done yet, with the owner saying he wants to continue adding to his roster through the draft.
"If you want to have a consistently good team, you can't build it in free agency. It has to be done in the draft," Kraft said Wednesday, according to Amina Smith of NBC Sports. "The teams who draft well will be consistently good. We haven't drafted well recently. I've seen a different approach this year."
The Patriots have struggled to draft high-level starters over the last few years. The franchise didn't pick in the opening round last season but used its first-round selections in the two years prior to take offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, running back Sony Michel, and wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who have all underachieved since entering the league.
New England used its first two picks in last year's draft on safety Kyle Dugger and linebacker Josh Uche in the second round. The club also added offensive weapons for quarterback Cam Newton in the third round by selecting tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene, but they combined for only five catches in 2020.
Kraft added that the Patriots' recent draft issues impacted its aggressive approach in this year's free agency.
"We missed, to a certain extent, in the draft, so this was our best opportunity," he said, according to Zack Cox of NESN.
New England, which owns the 15th overall pick this year, has spent a franchise-record amount of money in free agency this offseason, adding several stars in the process, including tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry and linebacker Matt Judon.
The AFC East team finished the 2020 campaign with a 7-9 record and missed the postseason for the first time since 2008 after losing Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency.
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