The New England Patriots started the day with three picks in the second and third rounds, but ultimately made just one selection. Here’s my analysis of the moves the Patriots made, what roster positions still need to be addressed, and what to look for on day three of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Patriots selected Florida cornerback Duke Dawson to be their new Logan Ryan
New England previously drafted Cyrus Jones in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to replace Logan Ryan, but Jones made too many mental errors on special teams to be activated on defense as a rookie and then was injured as a sophomore.
So the Patriots have theoretically moved on by selecting Duke Dawson is the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Dawson can play in the slot, on the sideline, and even a little bit at safety and is a slightly more athletic version of Logan Ryan coming out of college.
Ryan is quicker, while Dawson is faster, but both are stout run defenders that like to get physical with opposing receivers. Dawson should have some time to develop as a rookie while Jason McCourty is the starter, but look for Dawson to take over as the starter opposite of Stephon Gilmore in 2019.
The Patriots didn’t want to draft anyone else
New England had the chance to draft most wide receivers and tight ends, but preferred to trade down from 43rd overall. They could have made a move to snag one of the linebackers, but by stepping away from the third round, the Patriots will let most of them slip past.
Ultimately, the Patriots flipped their 43rd and 63rd overall picks for Dawson, a fourth round pick, and a 2019 second round pick. That’s a pretty neutral haul and shows that the Patriots weren’t really shopping for players.
New England wanted a cornerback and that’s about it. They have fourth round pick that will likely go to a quarterback, while I wouldn’t be shocked if the fifth round pick turned into multiple sixth and seventh round picks.
But that doesn’t mean the Patriots haven’t made the most of their draft picks...
Because the Patriots draft haul through two days of the draft is...
OL Isaiah Wynn (23rd overall)
RB Sony Michel (31st overall)
CB Duke Dawson (56th overall)
OT Trent Brown (95th overall)
CB Eric Rowe (131st overall)
WR Cordarrelle Patterson (159th overall)
EDGE Cassius Marsh (168th overall)
CB Jason McCourty (205th overall)
LB Marquis Flowers (249th overall)
DT Danny Shelton (2019 third round pick)
Chicago Bears 2019 second round pick
While not all of these players will pan out (sorry, Cassius), this is a pretty strong collection of talent for a given draft.
The Patriots outstanding needs are:
Quarterback: The Patriots could use a developmental quarterback from day three of the draft.
Running back: Not anymore.
Wide receiver: Probably not. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell are close to locks, while Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Kenny Britt are all more likely to make the team than most wide receivers available.
Tight end: Nah. This was a weak tight end class, so Troy Niklas and Will Tye will compete with Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister for a roster spot.
Offensive line: All done.
Defensive line: Doubtful since Malcom Brown, Danny Shelton, Lawrence Guy, and Vincent Valentine are all under contract for multiple years.
Edge defender: Again, doubtful since Adrian Clayborn and Deatrich Wise are locks and there’s no chance the Patriots would move on from Derek Rivers after just one year.
Linebacker: Yes, this a need, unless they think Harvey Langi is the answer and better than most other linebackers on the board.
Cornerback: All good here.
Safety: The Patriots could improve over Jordan Richards, but this is a lower priority.
So the Patriots could use a quarterback and linebacker, while safety would also be worth a look. Which players could fit? Quarterbacks Kyle Lauletta, Mike White, Luke Falk, Riley Ferguson, and Logan Woodside are day three options, as are linebackers Josey Jewell, Shaquem Griffin, Skai Moore, and Christian Sam.
There are options.
The Patriots have the following picks on the final day of the draft
Fourth round: 105th
Fifth round: 143rd
Sixth round: 198th, 210th
Seventh round: 219th
The Patriots have plenty of draft value in 2019
The Patriots currently have a first round pick, two second round picks, and two projected compensatory third round picks for losing Malcolm Butler and Nate Solder in free agency. That should be enough to move them into the early teens if they want to add a quarterback early next year.