The Patriots don’t pick until the 8th pick of the 3rd round, but they still have the assets to trade up in the 2nd round if necessary. Whether it is packaging a 3rd or 4th round pick to move up into the 2nd round from 72 or trading from the roster, it’s not a question if they can do it. However, the Patriots will not jump up the board unless there is a certain player who they didn’t expect to fall that did.
- Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado: Awuzie is a guy I have a late 1st round grade and could immediately plug into the slot CB role and with safety help can play on the boundary. His inside/outside versatility is similar to former Patriots CB Logan Ryan, who was the Patriots top CB in their Super Bowl LI title run. Awuzie would compete with Cyrus Jones for the 4th CB job on the depth chart and would cover kicks. This move only makes sense if the Patriots trade Malcolm Butler before or during the draft. Otherwise, I don’t see the Patriots moving up for a CB.
- Marcus Maye, S, Florida: Rich talked about the Patriots interest in the Florida safety earlier this week, and given the Patriots pre-draft pattern that they have heavy interest at the position. Maye is a do-it-all player reminiscent of Patrick Chung in his prime (2014-15). Maye’s versatility makes him a fringe first rounder, so the Patriots need to swing a major trade to get him. With Chung getting up there in age and possibly already starting to decline, the
- Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin: If Ramczyk’s injury history causes him to slip out of the first round, the Patriots could be looking at their Nate Solder replacement long term. Ramczyk is an elite OT talent when healthy, but that’s the biggest issue for him and why teams could be staying away. For the Patriots, the risk is worth the gamble because the upside is the Patriots have a foundation piece for their OL for 4 years. The first year, Ramczyk would be the 4th OL or playing at guard while Solder mans LT. Ramczyk would move to OT if an opening emerges or he sticks at guard if the Patriots get Solder on a long term deal.
The Patriots always have a plan for everything, including in case a talented player ends up falling in the draft. Awuzie is a player who could drop due to the amount of talent at the position he plays. Marcus Maye is another prospect who could drop due to the depth of talent at every defensive position. Ramczyk comes from a position where depth is thin, but could drop because of an injury history. The Patriots have been linked to all three prospects in the pre-draft process, and the team has done their due diligence to develop contingency plans if the draft takes an unexpected turn.