With the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft round in the books, it’s time for the “meat and potatoes” portion — day-two’s second and third rounds.
Because there is a semblance of fun buried beneath the futility of the exercise, I gave the mock draft machine another shot — this time with the aim of prognosticating which of the 70 remaining collegiate athletes will become NFL players by night’s end, and where they will be headed.
Without any trades, and with a +|- 98% margin of error, here’s how I see it going down.
56. Deionte Thompson, S - Alabama
It feels more like a matter of when than if Bill Belichick will be taking a safety in this draft. Thompson — a guy who carried quite a bit of hype as the 2017 season rolled into 2018 — is almost a name flying under the radar in this loaded safety class. He’s got incredible range, makes plays on every inch of the field, and is as willing and productive in the box as any safety in the draft. The Saban-Belichick connection puts this eventual McCourty/Harmon replacement over the top.
64. Mecole Hardman, WR - Georgia
Perhaps the “chalkiest” name left in the draft as it relates to guys who’ve been mocked to New England, the fit is just too good. Explosiveness, incredible special teams value, the UGA pipeline pattern — it’s all there for Hardman and the Patriots. To avoid the risk of him being scooped up in the third round, I can see them grabbing him at 64, or perhaps even moving up a bit after 56.
73. Zach Allen, EDGE - Boston College
The value here is fantastic as Belichick and Caserio get their hands on this high-floored local product. A long-armed 280-pounder with a relentless motor and excellent instincts against the run, Allen — who many consider a bit of a tweener — has the quick, powerful hands required for success on the interior pass rush. He would be the perfect compliment to guys like Guy, Bennett, Wise, and Butler.
97. Kaden Smith, TE - Stanford
With most of the popular names off the board, the Patriots could do a lot worse than this 6’5”, 255-pound red zone monster. He’s a versatile player who can play in line and get the job done in the ground game, and he’s got soft hands and excellent contested catch abilities.
101. Connor McGovern, IOL - Penn State
The Patriots add Joe Thuney free agency departure insurance with another very good value pick. McGovern is a strong, intelligent player with starting experience at both guard and center. A year under the watchful eye of Dante Scarnecchia could produce a long-term answer on the interior for New England.