The 2018 NFL draft is finally here! Later today, the first round of the league's college player selection process will be kicked off and it projects to be a highly interesting one from the New England Patriots' perspective: The team owns a total of eight draft picks with two of them being up on day one of the three-day event – giving the Patriots the sixth-highest draft capital in the league to operate with.
We will have plenty of coverage over the next three days (and beyond), so make sure to regularly check back to Pats Pulpit for all the latest news, rumors and analysis. As for day one, here is all you need to know.
Day 1: Round 1
When: Thursday April 26th at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
How to watch: NFL Network, ESPN, FOX
Time per pick: 10 minutes
Patriots draft picks
Round 1: #23, #31
Round 2: #43, #63
Round 3: #95
Round 6: #198, #210
Round 7: #219
The 23rd overall pick will be made at 11:50 PM ET at the latest and if the projected end of the first round is at 11:30 PM ET (per ESPN’s schedule), then the Patriots will likely pick around 10:30 PM ET.
The 31st overall pick will be made at 1:10 AM ET at the latest, but will likely happen around 11:20 PM ET.
Patriots draft needs, potential first-round targets
Linebacker: Rashaan Evans, Leighton Vander Esch
Offensive tackle: Orlando Brown, Mike McGlinchey, Kolton Miller, Connor Williams
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph
Cornerback: Jaire Alexander, Mike Hughes, Josh Jackson, Isaiah Oliver
Defensive edge: Lorenzo Carter, Marcus Davenport, Sam Hubbard, Harold Landry
Patriots links and analysis
Arkansas OG/OC Frank Ragnow is a “player to keep in mind” for the Patriots. A potential first-rounder. (source)
Mike Reiss does not envision the Patriots “forcing” a quarterback tonight. (source)
Teams looking to trade back into the first round have called the Patriots, who are sitting at #31. (source)
1-1 Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield
The Browns have their franchise quarterback and it is Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. The former Heisman Trophy winner might be a bit undersized but is certainly an intriguing player.
1-2 New York Giants: RB Saquon Barkley
The best running back in the draft is going to New York to add another highly talented skill position player to the Giants.
1-3 New York Jets: QB Sam Darnold
Just like the Browns, the Jets find their quarterback of the future, one that many had on top of their draft boards. An athletic and accurate passer with a natural feel for the game, Darnold is as solid as they come – despite some questions about his ball security.
1-4 Cleveland Browns: CB Denzel Ward
The first defensive player off the board, Ward adds speed and elite moving abilities to the Browns' secondary.
1-5 Denver Broncos: DE Bradley Chubb
Arguably the best overall player in the draft, Chubb is a truly disruptive force on the defensive edge – one that will now play on the other side of one of the NFL's top pass rushers in Von Miller.
1-6 Indianapolis Colts: OG Quenton Nelson
A physical interior offensive lineman that brings an elite mix of power, size and athleticism to the table. Nelson is undoubtably the best lineman in the draft.
1-7 TRADE Tampa Bay Buccaneers -> Buffalo Bills: QB Josh Allen
The Bills send two second round picks to Tampa Bay to move up from the 12th overall selection to pick one of the falling quarterbacks: Wisconsin's Josh Allen, a project but a high-ceiling passer.
1-8 Chicago Bears: LB Roquan Smith
Chicago stays put and picks the draft's top linebacker prospect: Georgia's Roquan Smith, who is an elite athlete that can play downhill versus the run and pass and has the moving skills to succeed in coverage as well.
1-9 San Francisco 49ers: OT Mike McGlinchey
A few months after trading for Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers add one of the draft's better offensive tackles to protect him. The Notre Dame product was also a potential option for the Patriots had he slipped down the board.
1-10 TRADE Oakland Raiders -> Arizona Cardinals: QB Josh Rosen
Probably the best pure passer to enter the draft, the Cardinals move up the board to pick UCLA's Josh Rosen. Injuries are a concern but from a pure talent standpoint, the Cardinals are making a high-value pick at number 10.
1-11 Miami Dolphins: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
A versatile and high-upside defensive back, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick can play in the slot as a cornerback, down the field as a deep safety and in the box as a sub linebacker.
1-12 TRADE Buffalo Bills -> Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Vita Vea
After moving back from the seventh overall pick, the Buccaneers secured Washington's Vita Vea. A raw athlete that has the ability to become a long-term starter at the heart of Tampa Bay's defense.
1-13 Washington Redskins: DT Da'Ron Payne
The second Alabama defender to come off the board, Da'Ron Payne is a highly-athletic man for his size that serves primarily as a run stopper but has the upside to one day shine as a pass rusher as well.
1-14 TRADE Green Bay Packers -> New Orleans Saints: DE Marcus Davenport
New Orleans gives up three draft picks – among them a 2019 first-rounder – to move up to draft one of the better defensive edges in the draft. Still, a risky and highly expensive move for the Saints.
1-15 TRADE Arizona Cardinals -> Oakland Raiders: OT Kolton Miller
A potential Patriots target, Miller is an outstanding athlete but a raw prospect at the offensive tackle position. Still, he has the upside to turn into a long-term starter for the Raiders.
1-16 TRADE Baltimore Ravens -> Buffalo Bills: LB Tremaine Edmunds
Tremaine Edmunds is possibly the highest-upside linebacker in the draft: Combining speed, explosiveness and size, the 19-year old will be a day-one starter on Buffalo's defense.
1-17 Los Angeles Chargers: DB Derwin James
The Chargers add a raw but physical defensive back to their defense that comes with plenty of athleticism, room for growth and versatility to play all over the Chargers' secondary.
1-18 TRADE Seattle Seahawks -> Green Bay Packers: CB Jaire Alexander
The third straight defensive selection sees Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, a player identified as a possible Patriots target before the draft, go to the Packers. While a bit undersized, Alexander has the agility and versatility to play on the perimeter and in the slot.
1-19 Dallas Cowboys: LB Leighton Vander Esch
The reigning Mountain West defensive player of the year, Leighton Vander Esch is one of the best off-the-ball linebackers in the draft – a player coming with excellent moving skills and instincts.
1-20 Detroit Lions: OC Frank Ragnow
Arkansas center Frank Ragnow was quickly rising up draft boards over the last few weeks and for good reason: The tall, powerful blocker and team captain becomes Matt Patricia's first draft pick as head coach of the Lions.
1-21 Cincinnati Bengals: OC Billy Price
After missing out on Ragnow, the Bengals select another talented interior offensive lineman in Ohio State's Billy Price. An explosive but raw blocker up front.
1-22 TRADE Buffalo Bills -> Baltimore Ravens -> Tennessee Titans: LB Rashaan Evans
Another potential Patriots target comes off the board after the Titans and former Patriots front office member Jon Robinson trade up in front of the team. Evans, a quick and smart linebacker, is an immediate starter in Tennessee.
1-23 New England Patriots: OL Isaiah Wynn
The Patriots add another player to their offensive line by investing in Georgia's Isaiah Wynn. A versatile and technically sound player that has starting experience at both guard and tackle, Wynn might help fill the void created by Nate Solder leaving via free agency – or serve as insurance in case Shaq Mason left next year.
1-24 Carolina Panthers: WR D.J. Moore
Possibly the best route runner in the draft, Moore has outstanding short area quickness. While he lacks the height to turn into a class number one receiver, he could become a productive slot option.
1-25 TRADE Tennessee Titans -> Baltimore Ravens: TE Hayden Hurst
The first tight end comes off the board at 25. Hurst gives the Ravens a talented receiver that also has the size and strength to turn into a productive blocker.
1-26 Atlanta Falcons: WR Calvin Ridley
Atlanta adds to its already impressively talented offense by picking Alabama's Calvin Ridley. One of the best wide receivers to enter the draft, Ridley adds speed and size opposite Julio Jones.
1-27 TRADE New Orleans Saints -> Green Bay Packers -> Seattle Seahawks: RB Rashaad Penny
One of the surprises of the first round sees Seattle invest in a quick, ball-control runner out of San Diego State that lacks burst and explosiveness: Rashaad Penny, who brings quality on offense and special teams.
1-28 Pittsburgh Steelers: DB Terrell Edmunds
The older brother of the newest Bills linebacker, Terrell Edmunds is an impressive player on his own: As a bigger defensive back the Virginia Tech product can work as a linebacker/safety hybrid.
1-29 Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Taven Bryan
A big interior penetrator, Bryan could become the Jaguars' long-term replacement for Calais Campbell. While he needs to improve his instincts and vision, he has the physical tools to become a difference maker at the next level.
1-30 Minnesota Vikings: CB Mike Hughes
Mike Hughes adds playmaking ability to the Vikings not just on defense, where he is well-suited to play in man-coverage schemes, but on special teams as well.
1-31 New England Patriots: RB Sony Michel
One of the surprises of the draft sees the Patriots stay at 31 and invest in their offense once again by picking Georgia's Sony Michel. An agile runner that has the ability to contribute in the passing game as well.
1-32 TRADE Philadelphia Eagles -> Baltimore Ravens: QB Lamar Jackson
The Eagles moved down from the 32nd spot via trade with the Ravens. Baltimore, in turn, made quarterback Lamar Jackson the fifth quarterback picked in the first round – drafting a player often connected to the Patriots.