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Patriots select a linebacker from Alabama in SB Nation's first 2019 mock draft

With the 2018 draft over, it is time to look ahead. Way ahead.

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

While the 2018 NFL draft is still fresh on everyone's mind, the focus is slowly shifting forward to rookie minicamp and organized team activities. For SB Nation's draft czar Dan Kadar, it is shifting to a point even further down the line – at least for those not working in an NFL college scouting department: the 2019 draft. Just two days after this year's edition had ended, Kadar already published his first mock draft for next year.

Based on current odds, he gave the New England Patriots the 32nd selection – and a linebacker from Alabama with it:

32. New England Patriots: Anfernee Jennings, LB, Alabama

An Alabama linebacker just had to land in the first round. Jennings is lined up on the outside, and will go into the draft as a technically sound tackler with solid athleticism.

Of course, a mock draft before the college football season even started is a shot in the dark. Our colleagues at Field Gulls recently showed that by comparing mock draft made after the 2017 draft to the actual 2018 draft. And while some of the players listed did actually come off the board in the first round, a big chunk did either a) not declare for the draft, or b) go in one of the later rounds.

Meanwhile, some 2018 first-round picks were not even on the radar: First-overall Baker Mayfield, or example, was not mentioned in any of the four mocks Field Gulls analyzed. Kadar's recent mock draft should therefore be taken with a big grain of salt: Nobody knows yet how the college football season will play out, and whether or not junior linebacker Anferee Jennings will actually be available and on the Patriots radar, or return to school.

However, there is one positive that comes from a 2019 mock draft: It highlights some players that might very well be worth taking a look at during the upcoming season.