The New England Patriots enter this year’s draft with a difficult path ahead. Reports have shown that they want to get younger and quicker at the linebacker position. Obviously, there is turmoil with J.C. Jackson‘s future, so cornerback is another hole. Furthermore, the Patriots have the ongoing need for a wide receiver in the camp. Picking at 21st in the first round, Bill Belichick must find a way to get the player of need, and that fits the overall scheme. Let’s see what the Patriots can do to address the holes on a playoff roster.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 21: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
If Wilson is on the board at 21, he is a must-get for the Patriots. Wilson is one of the few receivers in this draft that can turn into that top guy in their receiving corps and a real star in the league. Sure, linebackers like Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean could be more pressing issues. However, Wilson is easily the best man on the board and a player New England can’t pass up.
For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 2, Pick 54: Jalen Pitre, SAF, Baylor
Again, the Patriots follow a sort of best player available theme. Devin McCourty isn’t getting any younger and may not be on the team post-free agency. Pitre is an athletic, rangy safety who can play a Patriot-esque role, even for his size. He’ll bring a ton of youth to the ever-growing secondary in New England and can be a cornerstone player at the safety spot for years. This is another great value pick for New England but needs still need to be hit later on in the draft.
For more on Pitre, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 3, Pick 85: Quay Walker, LB, Georgia
This selection must be a linebacker or corner. While Leo Chenal (who is on the board here) may be a better prospect than Walker, it’s not what the Patriots are looking to add at the linebacker spot this year. Walker is a speedy linebacker who works well with a ton of space. He’ll provide value in every facet of the game and has a different build than Ja’Whaun Bentley and Dont’a Hightower.
For more on Walker, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 4, Pick 121: Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Williams seems like a Belichick guy. He’s from a small FCS school and impressed mightily at the Senior Bowl. He showed out within man coverage with his physicality, two traits that the Patriots value most in a cornerback. Will Williams compensate for not drafting a corner early? He has the potential to, but it will be hard to tell, especially with the way New England has developed most corners.
Round 6, Pick 208: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford
Although there are no trades in this mock, you’d have to think the Patriots will not wait 87 picks to make a selection. However, 208 is currently the last pick New England has in this draft, so they better make it count. After spending a good amount of money on the front-seven last free agency, the unit was still poor against the run game. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, thus the reason for selecting a defensive tackle so late. Booker has good measurable but can get bigger to be a multi-dimensional, rotational lineman that the Patriots can use.
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