Who knew the New England Patriots' fourth-round draft pick caused so much consternation for their AFC East rival?
The Patriots selected Arkansas offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt with the No. 118 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after acquiring the selection in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
In doing so, might have "stolen the (New York) Jets center of the future."
That's according to the New York Post's Manish Mehta, who reported Thursday the Jets were "poised" to draft Froholdt to fill a need on their offensive line before the Patriots swooped in.
As Mehta points out, New York initially had the No. 105 pick and could have taken Froholdt then. Instead, (former) general manager Mike Maccagnan traded down twice -- to No. 116, then to No. 121, with the hope that Froholdt still would be available.
When that plan backfired, Jets staffers apparently weren't happy.
New England Patriots
"Make no mistake: Folks on One Jets Drive were ticked off that Maccagnan made one too many trades rather than take a player who could develop into a foundation piece at such a pivotal position," Mehta wrote.
That last bit is a good measuring stick for the gap between the Patriots and the Jets; Froholdt currently is listed as the third right guard on New England's depth chart and may not see much action this season, but apparently would have been a "foundation piece" for the lineman-needy Jets, who settled for West Virginia tight end Trevon Wesco at No. 121.
And all of this was before New York fired Maccagnan amid rumors of a rift with head coach Adam Gase.
Mehta's full column is worth a read for Patriots fans seeking some Jets schadenfreude -- he notes Froholdt's "best game" in college came against Alabama when he kept top Jets draft pick Quinnen Williams in check -- and is another reminder why New England is once again a heavy favorite to win the AFC East.
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