Rookie Spotlight: Chase Winovich

Chase Winovich
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The New England Patriots defensive success in 2019 has been no secret. Their -35.24% DVOA not only ranks first in the NFL this season but second ALL-TIME behind the 1991 Eagles. This defensive turnaround has been truly unprecedented. In 2017, the Patriots were 31st in the league in DVOA. Through the first 14 weeks of 2018, it was more of the same. Things would change for the better from there. An incredible playoff run in which they held their own against the three top-ranked offenses by DVOA showed flashes of the unit’s potential. Expectations were relatively high coming into the season, but this Patriots defense has blown those expectations out of the water. There have been many factors to this resurgence, one of them being rookie edge rusher Chase Winovich. He has been an underrated anchor of the pass rush, and he is due some major credit.

Chase Winovich: Rookie Spotlight

Steal of the Draft

Coming out of Michigan, it seemed like he deserved more hype than what he got. Pro Football Focus had him ranked highly, but other mock drafts had him around 2nd-3rd round value. In the actual draft, he fell to the 77th pick and was drafted by the Patriots in the third round. This pick was an absolute steal. Winovich was known for his fantastic motor and football awareness, but he was more than that. He was a pass rusher with an incredibly high win rate. His 6.94 second 3 cone drill was third among all defensive lineman in the combine.

His small stature was one of his main criticisms. He is undersized at just 6’3″ and 256 pounds, fairly small for a defensive end. However, none of this actually matters if he produces. The skills in the agility tests were there. He was an incredible player in college and he consistently won his battles with opposing offensive tackles. The Patriots truly got a steal in Winovich, and their defense is already reaping the rewards.

Chase Winovich Professional Transition

In the NFL, Winovich has been the same player as he was in college. His 73.0 PFF grade ranks 8th among all qualified rookie defenders and 2nd among rookie edge defenders behind the great Nick BosaHis pass-rushing productivity rating of 7.9 is 3rd among rookie defenders, behind Jaguars stud rookie Josh Allen and the aforementioned Bosa. Most of his snaps have been taken from the right side, and that’s where he has flourished. His pass rushing productivity rating jumps to 8.5, back to second among rookies. He also has 6 sacks, 2 hurries, and 7 hits to his name. His production so far as a pass rusher has been exceptional. As a result, the Patriots pass rush has significantly improved and has been a great complement to their dominant secondary.

A Perfect Symbol

Chase Winovich is the perfect mascot for the fearsome Patriots defensive unit, whom of which have been dubbed “The Boogeymen”. After all, his high motor, opportunistic play signifies what the Boogeymen represent. You can run. You can hide. But ultimately, you will mess up, and the Boogeymen will take full advantage. They have been plotting, biding their time, waiting for the offense to make a mistake. Ultimately, the opposing offense does not stand a chance. Unless you are Lamar Jackson, but we don’t talk about that. “The Boogeymen” is a perfect nickname that represents what the 2019 Patriots are all about. Winovich is the perfect player representation of the Boogeymen, and of the Patriot Way that has dominated the NFL for so many years.

This fantastic film breakdown of Winovich in college gives some more in-depth analysis of his skills.

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