The New England Patriots will not have a first round pick because the NFL is pettier than jaywalking, which means that mock draft season will be a total drag. It's up to us to make it fun.
ESPN's Mel Kiper just released his first mock draft of the season and it's actually pretty good, aligning fairly well with the CBS Prospect Rankings. The lowest player selected was Penn State DT Austin Johnson, who ranks 45th for CBS.
We can review the mock draft to see which players are still available, and what trends exist that could be beneficial to New England.
The top players remaining are Baylor's defensive tackle Andrew Billings (CBS #15) and Ohio State's linebacker Darron Lee (CBS #15). Billings is one of the top nose tackle prospects in the draft, while Lee is an extremely capable linebacker.
Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman (CBS #27) is still available and would be a tremendous fit in New England.
Kiper mocked seven defensive tackles in the first round, five cornerbacks, four edge defenders, linebackers, and offensive tackles, three quarterbacks and wide receivers, and one running back. There were no interior offensive linemen, tight ends, or safeties mocked.
If the board fell in this fashion, the Patriots would have a pretty good chance of grabbing a top offensive skill talent at wide receiver, tight end, or running back. In fact, New England could probably feel comfortable sitting and waiting to select their top ranked offensive skill player left on the board. It could be very possible for a wide receiver like Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd or Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard, or a tight end like Alabama's O.J. Howard, or a running back like Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon to fall to the end of the second round.
It seems like the Patriots are all set on the roster with defensive tackles, cornerbacks, and pass rushers, which aligns fairly well with taking advantage of this particular draft board. We all have to put on Boxin' Bill Belichick thinking caps in order to have some fun during draft season.