New England Patriots fifth-round pick Byron Cowart has an interesting path to the NFL that could make him one of the success stories of the 2019 draft.
The New England Patriots have received high marks for their 2019 NFL draft class, mainly because of the players selected in the first four rounds, but it is the players selected towards the end of the draft that could make this one of Bill Belichick’s most memorable drafts.
Take for instance fifth-round pick Byron Cowart.
The defensive lineman out of the University of Maryland has the tools to be a first-round pick, but his college journey was one that certainly has him motivated to succeed at the pro level and that could be a good thing for the defending Super Bowl champs.
While Belichick has had a shaky draft record when selecting in higher rounds, it is usually the players he selects in the later rounds that make him a genius. Cowart has a shot to be one of those later round players who makes a name for himself with the Patriots.
At 6-foot-3, 298 pounds, Cowart has the size to be a force on the defensive line and definitely has the talent. A former five-star recruit who played the beginning part of his college career at Auburn, the Patriots rookie has the potential to be a rotational player along the defensive line with some pass rush ability. He just needs to put it all together and his experience while at Auburn should be a humbling and motivational factor.
After failing to score playing time at Auburn, along with his mother having health issues, Byron Cowart decided to leave Auburn to play at Hillsborough community college to be closer to home. Eventually he landed back in Division I football where he played at Maryland.
In 12 games with Terps, Cowart recorded 38 tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble. Finally, the talent and size all came together at just the right time. But it was the adversity in his first two years at Auburn that made it all click, which Cowart admitted in an interview on the Glenn Clark Radio Show.
“The whole situation humbled me”, Cowart told Clark when speaking about his high-profile status and lack of playing time with the Tigers.
Now, playing under Bill Belichick, Byron Cowart will get his daily dose of humble pie. As a fifth-round pick he will have to continue to work hard just to make the team. He will be reminded daily that if he doesn’t do his job, someone else will and talent alone won’t make it in the NFL which is something he is well aware off.
Here is what he said during his pro day at Maryland prior to the draft:
“I thought I was going to be Jadeveon Clowney, get three-and-out, drafted top of the first round. But my journey was different. I still had to go through some adversity and grow as a player. I still think I’m first-round talent, but at this point, I just want the opportunity to get drafted and then play in the league.”