With everyone releasing mock drafts, and with nothing but time on my hands, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and do a mock to share with all of you. In this draft, the New England Patriots double up at a few positions of need, make some trades, and fill some other holes in the roster.
Trade: 1-23 to Indianapolis Colts for 2-34, 3-75, and a 2020 third-rounder
I decided to trade out of the 23rd overall spot, even though there were some good players on the board. The reason I decided to do this is that I hate seeing all those good players get drafted between 23 and 87 with New England sitting on the sidelines. Despite trading back nine spots, from the 23rd to the 34th overall selection, I’m still able to get a very good player, and pick up another selection to fill the gap before their third-round picks. Throw in the 2020 third-rounder, and the offer is too tempting to pass up.
2nd round, 34th overall (via trade with IND): S Xavier McKinney, Alabama
At No. 34 I took who I feel was the best player available, and a guy at a position of need for the Patriots. McKinney is a versatile safety who is very aggressive and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. He is a hard hitter, who is an instinctive zone coverage player. He can fit a variety of roles in the Patriots’ secondary, and is at or near the top of nearly every analyst’s safety rankings.
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney does everything well: reading the QB from centerfield, click and close in the deep half, competes in man coverage, extremely disruptive blitzer, fits the run better than most LBs in this class. Would love to see him with Belichick. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/dlTads3FmI— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 7, 2020
3rd round, 75th overall (via trade with IND): LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming
A three-year captain at Wyoming, whose biggest strengths might be his smarts and mental processing, sounds like a great fit for the Patriots. Throw in the production that Wilson put up as a four-year starter, and this pick makes a lot of sense. He might be limited to run-stuffing duties at the start of his career, but he does show some good promise in zone coverage, so he could be used sparingly in passing downs as well.
#GoWyo LB Logan Wilson (no. 30) is one of the better tacklers and run defenders I've watched in this class— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) March 26, 2020
PFF has him logged for 3,618 snaps in his four year CFB career and it's evident on tape how pro ready he is pic.twitter.com/fsbcwWoL7w
3rd round, 87th overall: OT Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn
The Patriots address another big need for them at the end of the third round. There are a lot of question marks about the offensive line going into the year, but the biggest may be at tackle: Who knows what Marcus Cannon is going to offer this season, and while Yodney Cajuste has a lot of solid potential, the Patriots basically drafted him as a medical redshirt last year, so who knows what he will provide this year?
Wanogho is fairly new to football, originally coming to America to try to be a basketball star, but he has a ton of potential. He is big, and has the athleticism that the Patriots like from the tackle position. He certainly needs some polish, but the hope is, even with veteran O-line coach Dante Scarnecchia gone, that the Patriots’ coaching staff can get that potential out of him. Either way, getting a tackle with the athleticism and potential of Wonogho late in the third round is too good a value to pass up.
Prince Tega Wanogho @AuburnFootball has raw natural ability and an upward curve that will intrigue coaches in the NFL. Great flashes and very mouldable #WarEagle— Neil - Two Green Browns Podcast (@twogreenbrowns) January 20, 2020
He'll be on show @seniorbowl Saturday and Im looking forward to seeing him in action@BrownsAccess #bigheadsmedia pic.twitter.com/IG2lCNf543
3rd round, 98th overall: WR Laviska Shenault Jr, Colorado
The Patriots are surely looking to add to their offensive weaponry in the draft, and, while their priority will surely be the tight end position, if Shenault falls into their laps at No. 98, they have to take him. He is one of the most hotly-debated receiver prospects in the draft: some people think he will go extremely early, while others believe somewhere around this spot makes sense.
Shenault has a big frame, and moves extremely well on tape, but then he went out and ran a 4.58-second 40-yard-dash at the scouting combine, which made a lot of people question how fast he really was. It did come out later that he was having surgery on a core muscle injury he suffered during the season, so that could explain the slow time. However, it might just scare enough people away so that he falls here. Ranked as high as the second-round on some scouts’ rankings, the athleticism and production at Colorado is too much to pass up at the end of the third round.
Laviska Shenault, WR, #Colorado:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 5, 2020
• Play strength (++)
• Do-it-all chess piece
• Ultimate creator after the catch
• “Get it in the end zone” mindset
• A creative OC will love him
• Strong hands
• Average route-runnerpic.twitter.com/zKvMvEe1YT
3rd round, 100th overall: TE Harrison Bryant, FAU
The Patriots finally address the tight end spot at pick No. 100. Harrison Bryant has a fairly limited skill set, in that he is not a great blocker, but he is an intriguing receiving option, and could be a good move tight end for a team that desperately needed some receiving production from the position last year. At the end of the third round, the type of production that he could provide is very appealing, especially at a position of such great need.
Harrison Bryant - TE, Florida Atlantic— Sam Ainger (@sam_ainger) February 15, 2020
HUGELY impressed. Big, strong, good hands, athletic and looks like a great competitor. He’s pretty much the prototypical Tight End that the NFL is going for now and reminds me loads of Tyler Eifert
Potential day 3 sleeper#bengals pic.twitter.com/apIK2iQhGT
4th round, 125th overall: S K’Von Wallace, Clemson
Do I have an almost unhealthy obsession with Wallace? Yes. Did we already address safety in the second round? Yes. Do I care? No. The Clemson product is a Patriot because everything about him screams Patriot. I could have gone somewhere else, but safety is a concern with Duron Harmon traded, and Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung not getting any younger. Wallace brings a ton of versatility, and is a non-flashy, under the radar prospect the Patriots always seem to take at some point in the draft.
K'Von Wallace isn't the flashiest safety/nickel prospect in this year's draft but I could see him on the #Patriots. Already has a "do your job" mentality. Knows his role and how he fits into the bigger picture ( on). pic.twitter.com/kPB7hS5RQa— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 8, 2020
5th round, 172nd overall: WR James Proche, SMU
The Patriots double dip at wide receiver, and this time take another guy who a lot of people are projecting to come to New England. Proche has great ball skills, and, while he isn’t overly fast, he did a great job getting open consistently the last two seasons as SMU. There are questions about whether or not he will be able to produce on the outside of the formation, and may fit as more of a slot guy, but the Patriots would be totally fine with that.
James Proche, WR, SMU-— Ryder (@RyderM25) April 20, 2020
- Ridiculous hands
- Adjusting/Contested catches
- Slot WR at the next level
- Toughness over the MOF
- Smart route runner
- Competitive toughness
- Play maker
- Understands leverage through stem
- Quickness on releases#NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/X0DMPn5tiz
Trade: 6-195 and 6-204 to Denver Broncos for 6-181
Here, we move up to address a big need for the Patriots, and get a fan favorite with a familiar last name:
6th round, 181st overall (via trade with DEN): TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU
Another tight end for the Patriots. If you’re keeping track at home, that means, in the first eight picks, I’ve double dipped at safety, wide receiver, and tight end. I feel like it’s warranted, and, in this case, necessary. We already nabbed Harrison Bryant, who is a good move tight end but doesn’t do a great job blocking. Now we get Moss, who is a solid blocker, but limited as a receiver.
With that being said, he’s shown a great ability to win on contested catches, so he could provide some help in the red zone, where the Patriots were absolutely terrible last season. Most of New England is hoping Moss comes to the place his father — Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss — once called home.
LSU TE Thad Moss is an extremely impressive run blocker. Definitely a potential #Patriots target in this year's draft. Blocks on the line, on the move, whams. You name it, he did it for the Tigers. Big-time versatility & power at the point of attack ( ) pic.twitter.com/WHteuhbxnv— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) February 11, 2020
6th round, 212th overall: C Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon
Now I know what you may be thinking, the Patriots don’t need a center, they’re getting David Andrews back. You’re right, but remember that Andrews is coming back from blood clots in his lungs. Let’s all hope he’s good to go, but there’s no guarantee of it. Throckmorton is a guy who started 52 games in college, with those starts coming not just at center but also at both tackle positions and at right guard. Needless to say that he brings a ton of positional flexibility to the line. He has athleticism and strength limitations, but he’s a smart player who could develop into a good backup on the interior of the offensive line.
Oregon OL Calvin Throckmorton was a great addition to the #SeniorBowl. I thought he was one of the better lineman today. Strictly at left tackle, Throckmorton absolutely handled bodies due to his power and finishing toughness. The lack of length in pass protection was evident. pic.twitter.com/GXCCLpCvoN— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) January 22, 2020
6th round, 213th overall: DE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina
The Patriots get a D-lineman from South Carolina, just not the D-lineman from South Carolina (potential first-round pick Javon Kinlaw). Wonnum has limited athleticism, but he brings a ton of effort to the position, and was a three-year captain — both things the Patriots love. The technique and play strength is something that the team can work on moving forward, and, with some time, Wonnum could develop into someone who sees time in the D-line rotation.
Sleeper: DL/LB D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina, 6’ 5”, 260 Lbs). I will post a list of my honorable mentions D-Line next. Stats: (3.25 seasons) 77 Solo Tackles, 60 Asst Tackles, 137 Combined Tackles, 29.5 TFL, 14 Savks, 1 INT, 5 PD, 1 FR & 1 FF. #DJWonnum #4EDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/l906oh3UJ5— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) January 31, 2020
7th round, 230th overall: QB Cole McDonald, Hawaii
You knew it was coming at some point, but the Patriots wait until the seventh round to take a quarterback. My belief is that Jarrett Stidham is going to be the team’s QB moving forward, and so McDonald is someone that is being brought in to ultimately be the backup. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some potential and some good traits, though.
Physically, he has a cannon arm, and some solid athleticism, but his throws sometimes end up all over the place, and he has been far too willing to attempt near-impossible passes. He also needs to work on reading the field and trusting that his receivers will be open before throwing the ball. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done here, but McDonald is an interesting prospect that, if nothing else, can give the scout team some real good looks with his athleticism and arm talent.
I thought that this 4 play linear sequence of dropbacks by Cole McDonald perfectly illustrates who he is as a QB and why I love him:— Seth Galina (@pff_seth) April 4, 2020
1- Ability to find the backside dig when the frontside routes are not open
2- YOLO interception
3, 4- On time, accurate quick game throws pic.twitter.com/vASvVK0bpz
7th round, 241st overall: K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
Everyone assumes the Patriots are going to take a kicker in the draft, and the only real options are Blankenship and Tyler Bass. People have different rankings for the two, but Blankenship has the following, so, I went with the people’s choice and took Rodrigo here: I mean, how can you not love those glasses?! He’s also the leading scorer in Georgia history, and won the Lou Groza Award for best kicker in the nation last year, which is good too.