A bit of fair warning as this is written, I’ve taken to dictating my thoughts to paper much in the same manner as Ernest Hemingway, or under the same influence that led Bill O’Brien to trade away DeAndre Hopkins, which is to say I’ve spent the better part of the day drinking.
In all fairness, the content outline was completed before I sipped my first taste of bubbly this morning. The review here will be a very quick synopsis of each of the Patriots’ position groups, followed by potential draft targets for each group. A potential target on day 1 of the draft, one for day 2, and one for day 3.
We’ll wrap up the exercise with a draft results projection. The projection assumes the Patriots will make all 12 selections, at all 12 of their current slots. Rather than go through and do a complete 7 round mock draft, selecting for all 32 teams, I simply ran through a mock draft using the Draft Network website, managing New England’s selections.
(Jarret Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Cody Kessler)
It wouldn’t be shocking if a fourth quarterback were to be drafted. Either to give Stidham competition for the heir to the throne tag, or if its a later round player, to give Kessler a run for his money and to be groomed as Hoyer’s heir.
DAY 1 – JUSTIN HERBERT – OREGON
DAY 2 – JAKE FROMM – GEORGIA
DAY 3 – NATE STANLEY – IOWA
RUNNING BACKS/FULL BACKS
(Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden/ James Develin, Dan Vitale, Jakob Johnson)
This is a deep group. With the team in desperate need of cap space it feels like a forgone conclusion that Burkhead will be a cap casualty. Its also been noted that Damien Harris seems to have followed the same career path as James White who also experienced a make shift red-shirt campaign. If Harris indeed White’s heir, could White be a cap casualty instead (I’m fairly certain a particular former Patriot quarterback would eagerly welcome him down south)? Regardless of who goes, this doesn’t feel like a group that could possibly experience an early round selection.
DAY 1 – None, shouldn’t even be on their draft board
DAY 2- None, shouldn’t even be on their draft board
DAY 3 – AJ Dillon – Boston College
(Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adebayjo, Devin Ross, Matthew Slater)
The top three guys on the draft chart, Edelman, Sanu, and Harry seem pretty safe. I know a lot of fans have clamored for Sanu’s release due this his salary being non-guaranteed, but honestly, after having sent a second rounder to Atlanta it feels more likely that he’d be extended to lower his cap number. Meyers is the interesting case. He and Stidham showed some chemistry in pre-season last year. Was it a hint that they could bond the way Brady and Edelman had (Meyers started his collegiate career as a quarterback, as had Edelman), or was it simply a result of playing against other back ups. Regardless, at least one selection seems inevitable.
DAY 1 – Justin Jefferson – LSU
DAY 2 – Van Jefferson – Florida
Day 3 – Kelija Lipscomb – Vanderbilt
(Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse)
Its not often the Patriots under Bill Belichick have gone into a draft with an immediate NEED at a position. Certainly they’ve been in position to upgrade, but right now, on March 29th they NEED to draft a tight end, if for no other reason than to get through camp. I still have hope that Izzo can be a serviceable NFL player. Not a star, and not a starter, but if he sticks around for a few years as a 3rd tight end/blocker, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.
DAY 1 – None
DAY 2 – Cole Kmet – Notre Dame
DAY 3 – Albert Okwuegbanum – Missouri
(Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Yodny Cajuste, Korey Cunningham)
Based upon the team’s past history of having their young tackles serve an apprentice year as a swing tackle, you have to think that the plan was to have Yodny Cajuste be the swing tackle in 2019 before replacing Cannon (and his cap hit) in 2020. The question now is, do they just push the plan back a year, just skip the apprenticeship if Cajuste appears healthy, or draft Cannon’s immediate replacement in the first round and let Cajuste be the swing tackle. Considering Wynn’s propensity for injury, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
DAY 1 – AUSTIN JACKSON – USC
DAY 2 – ISAIAH WILSON – GEORGIA
DAY 3 – TREY ADAMS – WASHINGTON
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE
(Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Hjalte Froholdt, Jermaine Eluemunor, Najee Toran)
If the starting interior group is together and healthy then the offensive line is a strength. That’s a mighty big if though. Andrews is recovering from blood issues and missed all of 2019. Thuney has a huge cap hit, and it certainly feels like he’ll either be extended or traded. The team has until July 15th to extend the franchise tagged Thuney, but realistically they have until the 2nd day of the draft, otherwise at that point it becomes very prudent to trade him. Froholdt is allegedly healthy now after missing last season. But even when healthy it was believed he was a bit of an unrefined gem that may take some seasoning. And I’m still baffled that Eluemunor was tendered at the amount he was. I suspect they could get the same level of production for about a third the cap hit.
DAY 1 – Cesar Ruiz – Michigan
DAY 2 – Soloman Kindley – Georgia
DAY 3 – Tommy Kraemer – Notre Dame
(Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Beau Allen, Deatrich Wise Jr., Byron Cowart, Nick Thurman)
Not a ton of name recognition here, but the top four names on that list aren’t bad in a rotation. It’d certainly be nice to add a run stuffer, a true nose tackle type like Shelton was. Wouldn’t shock to see Cowart make a bit of a leap. Additionally, signing Butler beyond the restricted free agent tender should be a priority once cap space is opened up. The team has a long history of using first round selections on defensive lineman; Malcom Brown, Dominique Easley, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, and Richard Seymour in the Belichick era.
DAY 1 – Neville Gallimore – Oklahoma
DAY 2 – Raekwon Davis – Alabama
DAY 3 – Jordan Elliot – Missouri
(Chase Winovich, John Simon, Derek Rivers, Kieonta Davis, Brandon Copeland, Tashawn Bower)
Winovich and Simon are decent enough, with Winovich having the potential to develop into an impact player in year two. At this point nothing can be expected from Rivers. Copeland is a free agent signee from the Jets, which is to say theres only about a 20% chance he survives training camp. This is absolutely an area that could use a boost with the free agent defections the last few years.
DAY 1 – K’Lavon Chaisson – LSU
DAY 2 – Khalid Kareem – Notre Dame
DAY 3 – Trevis Gipson – Tulsa
(Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Terez Hall, Brandon King)
Another area of immediate need. Hightower carries a big cap number, Bentley has flashed, and Hall was a practice squad member last year. The strength of the Patriots defense, which was the strength of the team in 2019 is clearly in the secondary, which is outstanding, because every level of the front 7 could really use an injection of youth and talent.
DAY 1 – Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma
DAY 2 – Malik Harrison – Ohio State
DAY 3 – Logan Wilson – Wyoming
(Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, JoeJuan Williams, Lenzy Pipkins, D’Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel)
A deep and talented group. Ross was a undrafted signee last fall who really impressed before ending up on IR, but it’d take a trade to open up a spot, and honestly I don’t know who’d be traded unless the team felt that Williams was able to replace Jones. That being said, we’ve seen Julian Edelman and Troy Brown line up at corner before, so the more the merrier at this point.
DAY 1 – Trevon Diggs – Alabama
DAY 2 – AJ Terrell – Clemson
DAY 3 – Essang Bassey – Wake Forest
(Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Terrence Brooks, Adrian Phillips, Cody Davis, Obi Melifonwu, Adrian Pickett, Malik Gant)
Gone is third safety Duron Harmon, shipped off to New England Mid-West, aka, Detroit. In his place comes in Adrian Phillips. Phillips’ style tends to replicate Patrick Chung more than Harmon though, which lends credence to my belief that Chung will be gone sooner rather than later. A significant cap number, combined with a need to get younger, and legal issues in New Hampshire (that could still result in a league punishment).
DAY 1 – Xavier McKinney – Alabama
DAY 2 – Antoine Winfield Jr. – Minnesota
DAY 3 – Justin Blackmon – Utah
(Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona)
Well, obviously we need a kicker here. Not a huge shock. I expected that they’d draft someone to at least give Gostkowski some camp competition. Now it’d seem it’ll be a rookie, and likely a cast a way veteran (you know, like Nick Folk). Bailey showed he was a worthy draft pick last year, and Cardona is steady and unnoticeable, exactly what you want from your long snapper.
DAY 1 – None, are you crazy, Al Davis is not in charge here
DAY 2 – None
DAY 3 – Rodrigo Blakenship – Georgia
With those names in mind lets take a quick run at projecting the draft picks. There is no chance that the team won’t make at least one trade, I’d expect several, but let just give it a go as is. Again, the selections were made using The Draft Network website. Honestly I wouldn’t expect Kmet to be available at 87, otherwise these all seem like viable options. A fun site, that is worth subscribing too so you can make full use of their tools and information.
Round 1 Pick 23: Kenneth Murray – LB – Oklahoma
Round 3 Pick 87: Cole Kmet – TE – Notre Dame
Round 3 Pick 98: Khalid Kareem – Edge – Notre Dame
Round 3 Pick 100: Solomon Kindley – IOL – Georgia
Round 4 Pick 125: Leki Fotu – DT – Utah
Round 5 Pick 172: Trevis Gipson – Edge – Tulsa
Round 6 Pick 195: Shyheim Carter – Safety – Alabama
Round 6 Pick 204: Kalija Lipscomb – WR – Vanderbilt
Round 6 Pick 212: Rodrigo Blakenship – K – Georgia
Round 6 Pick 213: Robert Landers – DT – Ohio State
Round 7 Pick 230: Tommy Kraemer – IOL – Notre Dame
Round 7 Pick 241: Malcom Perry – QB – Navy
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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