Unless some miracle happens, and Roger Goodell's small heart grows three sizes in one day, the New England Patriots are not going to have a first round pick in 2016. This is going to make mock drafts pretty much a waste for Patriots fans.
We're already seeing it. Until the combine happens, most mock drafts will only feature the first round, and that means that the Patriots won't get any love in any mock draft. Usually we'd get to complain that the mock drafter was cute and had the Patriots trade out of the first round, but that scenario isn't in play. Instead, any multi-round mock draft is going to give the Patriots just one pick in the second round, and it'll probably end up as an athletic specimen at wide receiver with no route running polish in the 2nd round.
It's going to be a long offseason.
So I've instead decided to sort through the latest ESPN mock draft from Todd McShay to determine which prospects are still available after the first round of the mock draft is completed. In other words, in these hypothetical scenarios, which players are still in play for the Patriots in the second round? I'm using the CBS Draft Prospects ranking as a guide.
There are running backs galore
In this mock, there have been zero running backs selected in the first round. This means that bruising backs like Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott and Alabama's Derrick Henry are still in play. CBS has these players with first round grades, and even if the Patriots aren't willing to trade up to replace pending free agent LeGarrette Blount, the availability of these top tier players will force other running backs down the draft board.
There are wide receivers, too!
McShay mocked just three receivers in the first round: Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell, Ohio State's Michael Thomas, and Notre Dame's Will Fuller. This means that receivers like Baylor's Corey Coleman and Texas Christian's Josh Doctson are still on the board, both of whom are considered first round prospects. Second round receivers like Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd and Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard could possibly fall to the Patriots second round pick without even requiring a trade.
There aren't many cornerbacks available
The Patriots probably won't want rookie help at cornerback, as starters Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan, and depth Justin Coleman (exclusive free agent) and Leonard Johnson will be under New England's control, and preseason phenom Darryl Roberts should return. If anyone gets added, it will probably be a veteran. This is good because Clemson's Mackensie Alexander and Iowa's Desmond King are the only two quality corners still on the board, although Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell would be an interesting third or fourth round selection.
There was a run at the linebacker position
New England has Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower under contract, and while Jerod Mayo is probably going to depart in free agency, the Patriots have depth in Jonathan Freeny and Jonathan Bostic. If the Patriots wanted to add another body with upside, no one would really complain, but McShay sent five stand-up linebackers in the first round, which would really deplete the position. Ohio State's Joshua Perry, Missouri's Kentrell Brothers, and Lousiana State's Deion Jones are all still on the board, but the Patriots would likely have to trade up to grade them due to the run in the first round.