New England Patriots: Three Positions to Target in the First Round of the Draft

Given how free agency has played out, there are some gaping holes on the Patriots’ roster that could be addressed in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.

Coming off of a Super Bowl victory, the Patriots’ amazing dynasty shows no signs of slowing down. Still, there are a couple of glaring needs on head coach Bill Belichick’s fine-tuned roster.

At this point in Brady’s career, he still is playing amazing ball. However, the top priority for the Patriots has to be making his life as easy as possible, be it keeping him upright in the pocket or giving him targets to throw to.

Here are some positions that the New England Patriots could target in the first round.

Wide Receiver

Marquise Brown, Oklahoma: For what Brown lacks in size, he makes up in electricity. The speedster is capable of running any route on the field and is most dangerous when he has the ball in his hands. Brown would fit in perfectly with New England as he can run the short routes that are so popular in New England’s system but can also stretch the field. It is a flashy comparison, but Brown could be viewed as a poor man’s Tyreek Hill. Given his bursts, Brown could be a top receiver on whichever team drafts him.

N’Keal Harry, Arizona State: Harry is the opposite type of receiver from Brown, but still has a unique skill set that would be valuable to the Patriots. The 6-foot-3 receiver makes his mark when it comes to separation and extending the play by going up to high-point the ball. Even with his large frame, Harry still has impressive speed. With a large wingspan and understanding of the route tree, Harry could find himself being drafted as high as the mid-first round.

Offensive Tackle

Kaleb McGary, Washington: New England has already made plans to meet before the draft with McGary, proving their interest. However, about half of the league also wants to meet with the Washington product. McGary has the height that Belichick desires in his blindside blockers, although McGary was a right tackle throughout college. With age catching up to Marcus Cannon and uncertainty at left tackle with Isaiah Wynn, McGary could serve as a viable No. 3 before becoming a starter in New England.

Cody Ford, Oklahoma: Ford is an extremely gifted athlete for a man of his size. He has great speed, quickness, and flexibility while moving. Surprisingly, Ford has only played one full season as a tackle after making the shift from right guard. Still, Ford has amazing raw talent and could be a coach’s dream project. A combination of intelligence and speed, Ford could draw comparisons to former Eagles center Jason Kelce. Paired up with Dante Scarnecchia, Ford could become an elite-caliber tackle in the NFL.

Defensive End

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Ferell is one of the top edge rushers available in the draft, and could certainly be gone by the end of the first round when the Patriots make their selection. Odds are New England would have to trade up in order to acquire the former national champion. Ferrell has improved each year he played at Clemson, and creates persistent pressure on the edge. He also won the Ted Hendricks award last year, which is awarded to the top defensive end in the country. The explosive rusher can be compared to Chandler Jones, who the Patriots traded up for in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech: One of the most talented linemen in the draft, Ferguson knows how to attack the quarterback. As the all-time NCAA sack leader, it’s evident that he has a high motor and can play at a professional level. However, his draft stock has fallen since he was uninvited to the NFL Combine due to an off the field incident. Before the surfacing of reports involving his conduct, Ferguson was being labeled as a first-round talent. If New England takes a chance on the troubled pass-rusher, it could pay dividends.

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