Patriots replace Stephen Gostkowski before Tom Brady, take a kicker in the fifth round

At least the New England Patriots replaced one of the departed key members of their past few championship teams.

The intrigue with the Patriots in this draft centered around quarterback and replacing Tom Brady. Would they trade up for someone like Jordan Love? Would they take Jalen Hurts in the second round? Would a third- or fourth-round quarterback interest them?

The answer to all those questions was a resounding no, and the Patriots drove that point home on Saturday. Even with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm still on the board in the fifth round, they went with a kicker instead.

The Patriots selected Marshall kicker Justin Rohrwasser, a surprising pick for a few reasons. Rohrwasser becomes the favorite to replace Stephen Gostkowski, the team’s kicker the past 14 seasons and a four-time Pro Bowler.

Rohrwasser’s Patriots career started with some controversy, when social media speculation about his tattoos wondered if he was part of a far-right militia movement. He had previously said his tattoos were random.

When asked about the tattoos on a conference call, Rohrwasser reportedly gave an explanation:

From a football standpoint, the pick itself was unexpected. Rohrwasser was far from a lock to be drafted. He hit just 33-of-42 field-goal attempts in two seasons at Marshall. ESPN was caught off guard; host Trey Wingo said on the broadcast that Rohrwasser was the first player in the 2020 draft for whom the network didn’t have highlights. didn’t even have a prospect grade for him. But he was the first kicker selected in the draft.

The Patriots don’t follow the consensus on a lot of their draft picks, and Rohrwasser fits in that group.

Marshall Thundering Herd kicker Justin Rohrwasser was a surprising fifth-round pick to the Patriots. (Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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