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2018 NFL draft: Patriots go all-offense in latest SB Nation mock draft

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New England does not address its defense in Dan Kadar's most recent mock.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing some core players via free agency and as a result having no clear-cut starters at left tackle and running back at the moment, the New England Patriots offense projects to again be one of the best in the NFL in 2018. The team's defense, on the other hand, is a work in progress which is why it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots invest plenty of resources into the unit during this week's draft.

If the draft goes according to SB Nation's mock draft czar Dan Kadar, however, those investments will have to come after round one. In his latest mock draft, Kadar has the Patriots add to their offense with both their first-round selections.

23. New England Patriots (via Los Angeles Rams): D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

With the departure of Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman coming off injury and turning 32 in May, the Patriots could target a wide receiver early in the draft. Moore could be a star in New England thanks to his athleticism and solid hands.

One of the best wide receives in this year's draft and the second to come off the board in Kadar's scenario, Moore would be a nice addition to the Patriots offense as a Z-receiver similar to Malcolm Mitchell: He is a very good route runner and explosive target in the intermediate areas of the field that comes with elite quickness and speed and has shown an ability to line up both on the perimeter and in the slot.

Despite all that it would still be a surprise to see New England actually spend a first-rounder on Moore. Not only did the Bill Belichick Patriots never pick a wide receiver in round one (to be fair, though, a first-round pick was invested to trade for Brandin Cooks last offseason), the team also already has plenty of depth and upside at the position as it is while also having holes elsewhere – most prominently on defense – to fill.

Considering that defensive standouts like Alabama's Rashaan Evans, Ohio State's Sam Hubbard and Iowa's Josh Jackson would still be on the board when Moore gets picked, it seems possible that New England would prefer taking one of the three over adding another wide receiver.


31. New England Patriots: Connor Williams, OT, Texas

At this time last year, people were starting to project Williams as a top 10 pick in the 2018 draft. Williams had an off season, but if one team can get him figured out it’s the Patriots. If he can revert to his old form, Williams could end up being the best offensive tackle from this year’s draft.

Despite coming off an injury-shortened 2017 season, Williams is expected to be one of the first offensive tackles to come off the board (he's second in Kadar's scenario behind Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey at #16). The slightly undersized – 6'5, 300 lbs – Williams has intriguing potential as a rare athlete that enters the draft with a sound technique in both his pass protection sets and as a run blocker.

While Williams' talent cannot be denied, the Patriots drafting an offensive tackle early will depend on the outlook of 2017 third-round pick Antonio Garcia. The Troy product missed all of last season due to blood clots in his lungs but is expected back in full capacity this year. If the team is unsure about Garcia as the potential blindside protector of Tom Brady, however, Williams – a possible day one starter – might be a target early in the draft.

Other players the Patriots could target with the 31st overall selection would be fellow offensive tackle Kolton Miller out of UCLA, Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander or Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph – all still on the board in this mock draft. Still, Williams would be a solid choice late in the first round and not as surprising a selection as D.J. Moore at #23.