The New England Patriots have drafted Danish offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt (Yell-duh Fro-holt) with a fourth-round pick at No. 118 overall.
This was only the second time in history that a Dane has been drafted in the NFL Draft. The first was NFL Hall of Fame Pro Football Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen in the 1982 NFL Draft. He too was picked in the fourth round.
Froholdt, who played defensive tackle as a freshman, was considered one of the best pass-blocking guards in this year’s draft class.
The 6’5″, 315 lb, 22 year old native of Svendborg, Denmark who played football in his native country for the Søllerød Gold Diggers, first went to the United States as an exchange student in 2013. He landed in Ohio where he started playing football to make friends but excelled and moved to the IMG Academy in Florida towards the end of his high school career. He earned a 4-star recruiting grade there and after offers from a number of major schools ended up in Arkansas where he played guard and center.
Allowed just one sack in two years
With the Razorbacks, he developed quickly and was moved to the offensive line where he started all 13 games in 2016 at left guard. The following year he started all 12 games and did not allow a sack while taking only two penalties. Froholdt started his senior season at center, starting the first three games there before switching back to left guard for the final nine contests. He finally got beaten for a sack late in the season, the first time in two years.
According to the Pats Pulpit, Froholdt’s versatility is definitely a draw for the Patriots, but that’s not the only reason why the Patriots selected him.
- The Patriots have the best interior line in the NFL with Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason. The latter two are under contract through the 2020 and 2023 seasons, respectively, but Thuney will be a free agent after this upcoming season, as will top back-up Ted Karras.
- Thuney is positioned to land a huge contract in free agency and now the Patriots are prepared for his departure- and gives them additional leverage in negotiations for an extension.
- Froholdt, born and raised in Denmark, played under Patriots coaching assistant Bret Bielema when he was the Arkansas head coach.
- He joins the Patriots’ 2019 NFL Draft class, which includes Arizona State receiver N’Keal Harry, Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams, Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich, Alabama running back Damien Harris. and West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste.
- Froholdt could serve as a backup for starters Thuney and Mason. The selection of Froholdt comes at an interesting time, with Thuney being on the final year of his rookie contract. That said, there’s some question as to whether Froholdt can hold up at guard. Perhaps a move to center could be in order.
Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick really likes international linemen.