Yesterday, I posted my draft board for the Patriots with picks 72 and 96. Now we move onto the 4th round, where there will be a 36 pick gap until the Patriots make their pick at 132nd overall. That pick was acquired in a 2016 Draft Day trade, as the Patriots traded a 5th, 6th, and 7th to Seattle for a 4th after the Ravens beat them to Keenan Reynolds. Without further ado, let’s start the next draft board as some of these names will look familiar.
Same reason I pointed out on the previous draft board, there isn’t a QB worth taking right now over the ones in the building right now. The Patriots currently have 3 QBs and really don’t have the need to add a camp arm and already have a developmental QB in Jacoby Brissett.
RB: Kareem Hunt, Aaron Jones, Elijah Hood
Hunt and Jones are more of the change of pace variety whereas Hood was more of an early down thumper for North Carolina. Jones came from a smaller program at UTEP, but put up impressive times at the combine. If the draft goes as I think it will, the Patriots aren’t likely to select a RB in the 3rd round anyway. Hood and Hunt are pro-ready and given the Patriots FA situation at the position following 2017, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots draft a RB on Day 3.
Slot WR: Ryan Switzer, Trent Taylor, Noel Thomas
The only player from Day 2 that comes off the board is Taywan Taylor, but Noel Thomas from Connecticut takes his place. All three players recorded at least 96 catches and a 1,000 yard season. The TD production is a lot different as Taylor caught 12 TD vs. 6 and 3 for Switzer and Thomas. Switzer again makes the most sense from a 4-down perspective because he has the best 4-down value of any slot WR in the draft. All three are quality slot WR prospects because of their ability to move the chains and sustain drives given their high catch number production.
Outside WR: Noah Brown, Josh Reynolds, Carlos Henderson, KD Cannon
The Patriots WR corps is very fast, but if there is one element that’s missing, it’s size with Chris Hogan being the only WR over 6’0”. The Patriots will often detach Rob Gronkowski from the formation and play him as their X receiver on the goal line. Brown and Reynolds are probably low snap count guys given very little possible contributions on Special Teams whereas Henderson and Cannon could contribute right away returning kicks and punts. The Patriots have Malcolm Mitchell, Brandin Cooks, and Chris Hogan signed for 2018, so the need isn’t a pressing one.
TE: Michael Roberts, Adam Shaheen
The TE class thins out after Day 2 with only developmental prospects available that don’t give a lot of value in the first two years. Roberts could develop into a #2 TE that’s a decent blocker and the occasional catch in the red zone. Shaheen is different as he’s an athletic mold of clay as a pass catcher with a large frame to throw to. Shaheen has more upside as a reciever than Roberts, although both players aren’t likely to be big contributors early on.
OT: Antonio Garcia, Julien Davenport
These two prospects are athletic, but raw at the position while coming out of small school programs. The Patriots already have Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, and Cameron Fleming in the fold who can play right away so this isn’t a huge issue. Garcia is a bit undersized, playing under 300 pounds in college, but does have room to add weight to his frame. Same story with Davenport at 6’7” 310. While I don’t expect either guy to hit the field in Year 1, a year with Dante Scarnecchia in the weight room and on the practice field should push them right along.
IOL: Isaac Asiata, Zach Banner, JJ Dielman, Jay Guillermo
I would not be surprised to see the Patriots add a Day 3 pick to the center position to compete with incumbent center David Andrews. The knock on Andrews is strength, and the team should always look to find a replacement. Even if they didn’t, Andrews is good enough to not lose the Patriots games. Dielman and Guillermo make the most sense, although the former may end up going undrafted because of his lengthy injury history.
DL: Dalvin Tomlinson, Eddie Vanderdoes, Elijah Qualls, Vincent Taylor
Similar group to the Day 2 board, but adding in Elijah Qualls from Washington. Tomlinson and Qualls make the most sense for a 2-gapping style of defense like the one the Patriots run. Vanderdoes and Taylor are a bit more athletic and can push the pocket as a 3-tech. The Patriots are 4 deep at the position before the draft, so there’s no pressure for whoever gets picked to perform early.
EDGE: Demarcus Walker, Carroll Phillips, Vince Biegel, Dylan Donahue
With the Patriots track record in the 4th round, they may go for a guy who fits a specific role, which is where Walker and Biegel come into play. Walker is most likely only going to be useful as a sub package DT and Biegel may end up playing a traditional strong-side linebacker role. Phillips is the most intriguing, as I think he may be a better linebacker than pass rusher at the NFL because of his speed and fluidity.
LB: Ben Gedeon, Connor Harris, Richie Brown
I’m pretty confident that Langi will be one of the Patriots two 3rd round selections, otherwise he would also be on this board. None of these players are exceptionally athletic, but could play a specific role as an early down player and come off the field on 3rd downs for an extra rusher.
CB: Corn Elder, Desmond King, Shaquille Griffin, Howard Wilson, Cameron Sutton
The Patriots will have their pick from CBs who are fundamentally sound, but might not be the best athlete at the position. The Patriots already have a deep CB position with Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, and Eric Rowe as the top 3 CBs along with both Cyrus and Jonathan Jones showing promise in Year 1 at the position. However, in a league where the passing game is no more prolific than it is today, you can never have enough quality CBs. There’s always the chance of an injury happening in preseason or the regular season that will require some excellent depth. Any of these guys would make for a strong CB5 on the depth chart.
S: Delano Hill, Xavier Woods, Nate Gerry
The Patriots are looking at the long term future of their box safety position, with Patrick Chung over 30. Woods and Gerry are more of a traditional box safety while Hill is more versatile and can play the single-high role that Duron Harmon plays. Any of these three safeties would likely see a lot of time on Special Teams in Year 1, then compete for the starting job in Year 2.
Most likely to be drafted at 132: Delano Hill, Carroll Phillips, Cameron Sutton, Demarcus Walker, Vince Biegel