When the New England Patriots drafted Chase Winovich 77th overall in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft, fans and analysts were shocked. Right now, he’s showing us all why. After a very productive preseason in which Winovich received the 2nd-highest PFF grade of a 92.0, and earned himself a spot on the all-rookie team, hopes were high for the Michigan product. Through his first 4 regular season games Winovich has notched 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 4 QB hits, and 3 sacks. He made zero starts. ESPN currently projects Chase Winovich to finish this season with 20 tackles and 12 sacks and 8 tackles for loss.
Comparing those numbers to the last edge rusher to win defensive rookie of the year, Joey Bosa, Winovich isn’t too far off. Bosa finished the 2016 season with 10.5 sacks, 70 tackles, and 17 tackles for loss. Obviously, the tackles stick out but, as I mentioned before, Winovich hasn’t even made a start yet. If Bill Belichick begins to further integrate Winovich into the defense like I expect he’ll close that tackles gap quickly.
Even if Winovich can’t bring home the hardware this season, Patriots fans can take comfort in the team already finding their long term Trey Flowers replacement; who looks like he could be an improvement.