The New England Patriots don’t have many needs heading into the final day of the 2017 NFL Draft and can spend their final three picks (131, 183, 239) on high-upside prospects. There are still seven players on the board that could be game-changing prospects in New England.
Auburn EDGE Carl Lawson
Why is Lawson still available? He was considered a top 40 lock by almost every draft service, and yet here he is on the board entering the fourth round. Lawson is the type of player that will have teams trading up to make him one of the first few picks on the day.
The Patriots don’t really have a specific need on the edge after adding Derek Rivers, but day three is for taking the players with the highest upside and Lawson is easily the best prospect still on the board.
Iowa DB Desmond King
The Patriots could look to add some depth in their secondary and King is a perfect replacement for Logan Ryan. King can play the slot, he can play on the sideline, and he can drop back to safety. He’s an outstanding run defender and he’s a ballhawk. The Patriots could find a place for him in the secondary, especially with Malcolm Butler’s future in jeopardy.
Michigan TE Jake Butt
Butt is clearly falling because of his knee injury, but he’s a top tier tight end when healthy. While the Patriots might be more interested in adding a veteran, Butt is the type of player that is worth stashing as a rookie during his injury rehab. The Patriots could use Butt as a blocking tight end and he offers more value as a receiver than Michael Williams or Matt Lengel.
Iowa TE George Kittle
Kittle is the most impressive athlete at tight end and he’s still on the board. He’s a great blocker and was underutilized as a receiver. Teams rarely regret adding a tight end from Iowa out of the draft and Kittle will make some team happy.
Wisconsin LB Vince Biegel
Biegel might be too small to play on the edge in the NFL and he lacks experience as an off-the-ball linebacker. But Biegel is an athletic player that has been very productive and experienced. He will make a defense better and the Patriots could use him as a strong side linebacker.
Colorado S Tedric Thompson
Thompson has good ball skills, size, production, and versatility, but he has limited athleticism. He’d be a very Belichickian addition to the Patriots as a coverage safety that can also play special teams. At his best, Thompson can play any role asked of a safety.
Nebraska S Nathan Gerry
Gerry is flying under the radar, but he’s a fantastic prospect that is a big safety known for stopping the run and disrupting the pass. He’s not the most athletic looking player, which is why he doesn’t garner as much attention, but he makes the plays on the field when it matters most.