New England unceremoniously finished their season over the weekend with a victory over the New York Jets, and now shift their focus towards the offseason. The NFL Draft is always the highlight of the roster building process, and New England enters with a projected 10 picks.
Compensatory picks for free agent losses have yet to be announced, but it’s expected that New England will be awarded a 3rd round pick for losing Tom Brady, and two 4th round picks for losing Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. This mock draft will reflect all of the projected compensatory picks throughout the NFL to increase the accuracy of the draft order.
**TRADE** New England Trades Pick #15 to Jacksonville for Picks #21 and #65.
Without one of the top 4 quarterbacks available at pick #15, New England will be a team likely to trade down from their selection. Trading down is a typical move of head coach Bill Belichick, and with New England not having a third-round pick, it’s more likely that they’ll use pick #15 to acquire extra assets.
From Jacksonville’s perspective, they’ll could be looking for a weapon or offensive lineman to surround likely #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, and a trade up the board could secure that prospect.
Round 1, Pick 21: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Round 2, Pick 46: Hunter Long, TE, Boston College
Round 3, Pick 65: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Round 3, Pick 96 (Projected Comp Pick): Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
Round 4, Pick 116: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
Round 4, Pick 134 (Projected Comp Pick): Cornell Powell, WR, Clemson
Round 4, Pick 140 (Projected Comp Pick): Baron Browning, EDGE, Ohio State
Round 5, Pick 155: Tyler Vrabel, OT, Boston College
Round 6, Pick 185 (via Dallas): Greg Eisworth, SAF, Iowa State
Round 6, Pick 188: Khyiris Tonga, DL, BYU
Round 7, Pick 236: Tommy Kraemer, OL, Notre Dame
This haul solves a few things for the Patriots roster. Double dipping at wide receiver gives them multiple high upside options at the position, immediately improving a part of the depth chart that is in desperate need of upgrades.
Spending high picks at linebacker and tight end would hopefully solve two of the weakest position groups on the roster, and the idea of Zaven Collins playing next to Dont’a Hightower should be one that gets Patriots fans excited.
New England should continue to add young depth at cornerback and EDGE, as the future of veterans at both positions are up in the air prior to free agency (cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson, EDGE’s John Simon and Deatrich Wise).
Finally, adding a Day 2 pick at the quarterback position with Desmond Ridder gives New England a potential quarterback of the future. Ridder is a high upside talent, as a mobile 6’4 passer with arm talent and a winning pedigree (20-3 over the past two seasons). He’s approached the Mac Jones and Kyle Trask tier of quarterback prospects, and should be one of the options for NFL teams on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
A draft class built like this would add pieces throughout the roster, while still hopefully adding much needed high-end talent with four selections within the top 100.