Byron Cowart, a 5th Round 2019 pick, may not yet have developed into a true three-down player for the Patriots, but they probably don’t need him to be: Guy is one of the most well-rounded defensive tackles in the game, with Butler a strong interior rusher who also has taken big strides as a run defender since arriving in New England as an undrafted free agent in 2017. At least this year, Cowart’s role could therefore be the one that Beau Allen is supposed to play: eat space on early downs and provide upside if inserted in passing situations.

“I think he’s been primarily a run player throughout his career, when he was at Auburn and also when he was at Maryland,” said HC Bill Belichick. “I’m not saying he can’t rush the passer, but I’d say the pass rush is an area that he’s worked hard to develop and improve on because he hasn’t had as much experience or exposure with it, but he’s a very strong and physical player. I think he’s one of the most explosive players that we’ve had or do have.

“But, really for him, it’s a lot about experience and technique and he made a ton of growth in the last 12 months here from where he was last year in training camp. That’s going to hopefully continue to ascend. His pass rush techniques have gotten much better. DeMarcus [Covington] and Joe Kim have both worked very hard with him on developing things that will work for him, not necessarily what another player does or doesn’t do, but really trying to utilize his strengths and skillset.”

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