The New England Patriots will likely have to replace CB Logan Ryan, who is expected to break $10 million per season in free agency. In house options include Eric Rowe and Cyrus Jones, but don’t be surprised if the Patriots look to the draft for additional support.
And according to NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock, this is one fantastic draft to need a cornerback.
“As far as a corner situation is concerned, this is a great corner class,” Mayock said during his annual draft press conference. “If you don't get one in the first round, you can come back in the second or third round and really help yourself.”
“I can get through four rounds of quality corners,” Mayock added, “and I've never been able to say that before.”
Mayock believes both Sidney Jones and Marshon Lattimore will be off the board in the first half of the draft, with Marlon Humphrey, Teez Tabor, Quincy Wilson, and Tre’Davious White rounding out the first round talent, with Adoree Jackson an early second round option with talent “through the roof.”
Other talent includes Fabian Moreau (rounds 2-3), Howard Wilson (round 3, “He can press. He plays off.”), Ahkello Witherspoon (rounds 3-4, “He's really already got a good feel for press coverage. Press man-to-man. I like him a lot.), Nate Hairston (rounds 4-5), and Aarion Penton (rounds 5-6, “Wasn't even invited to the combine, and I think he's going to compete with somebody to start at nickel.”)
Mayock believes that players like Desmond King, Chidobe Awuzie, and Kevin King will be better off at safety, and curiously doesn’t mention talent like Jourdan Lewis, Cordrea Tankersley, Gareon Conley, and Cameron Sutton.
This is a seriously deep class at cornerback and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Patriots invest a second or third round pick on another cornerback to round out the secondary.