We made it, everybody! Finally, after months and thousands of mock drafts, breaking down tape and trying to find the best fits for the Patriots, the NFL Draft is here. With the New England Patriots currently sitting on four picks inside the top 100 and owning 12 in total. Including Tampa Bay’s 139th overall pick after the stunning Rob Gronkowski trade, they now have three third-round picks as well as two selections in the fourth, so New England has a ton of ammo to do what it wants in this draft. Obviously, there are certainly a lot of scenarios about what they could decide to do.
With that said, let’s take a look at my final seven-round mock draft:
- Patriots trade picks 1-23 and 3-100 to the Los Angeles Chargers for pick 2-37 and 3-71.
- Patriots trade picks 4-125 and 4-139 to the Pittsburgh Steelers for pick 3-102.
- Patriots trade picks 6-195 and 6-204 to the Green Bay Packers for pick 6-192 and a 2021 6th-round selection.
- Patriots trade pick 6-213 and a 2021 5th-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for pick 6-180.
2nd round, 37th overall (via trade with LAC): C/G Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
At this point, I’d be really surprised if Joe Thuney was still a Patriot by the end of the weekend, and with David Andrews health a bit of an uncertainty, the Patriots get the versatile Cesar Ruiz with their first pick. Ruiz is explosive off the line and blocks with a very wide base to handle defensive tackles well. He is super instinctive and plays with an edge as he loves to get to the second level and run through guys in the run game. The Michigan man is a safe pick here as he projects to be a Day One starter for most teams looking for a center or guard — which the Patriots very well might be.
Fantastic recognition by Cesar Ruiz on this pull. Picks up the run through by the LB. pic.twitter.com/1HBbXeOYZ2— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) April 20, 2020
3rd round, 71st overall (via trade with LAC): DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
His injury history may hurt Zuniga’s stock but it is proven that when he is on the field he can produce. He missed six games as a senior but still picked up six sacks and had an additional seven tackles for loss. As a junior, he missed just one game, racking up six-and-a-half sacks and 45 tackles with eleven of those for a loss. He has a very explosive first step and just finds ways to get into the backfield and makes plays. Zuniga was a combine standout and was measured at 6-foot-3, 264 pounds.
Jabari Zuñiga, EDGE de Florida, es otro prospect muy interesante para rondas medias. Si cae al tercer día, es posible que sea un pick de gran valor. Juega muy bien el rip, baja su pad y sabe hacerse pequeño. Puede alinearse por dentro por su fortaleza de manos #NFLDraftesp2020 pic.twitter.com/z9hwESGaVH— Rubén Ibeas (@Rubenibg) April 15, 2020
3rd round, 87th overall: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
This is three straight mock drafts with Trautman, it just makes too much sense. Bill Belichick lands his tight end of the future and the Dayton product checks all the boxes in terms of what the Patriots look for at the position. Despite the FCS competition, he dominated this past year hauling in 70 receptions for 916 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Trautman was measured at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds during the combine, he can run-block and is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. With his basketball background, he can go up and get the ball. He also is a Senior Bowl standout who showed that the bump in competition didn’t phase him.
#Patriots Draft Target: Sr. TE, Dayton - Adam Trautman 6’5 250 lbs.— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) March 5, 2020
Not too many tight ends out there that fit the Patriots like him; blocks well and has great upside in the receiving game. Strong & athletic, ran a 4.79 at the combine.pic.twitter.com/tEKUowbfm0
3rd round, 98th overall: DT Jordan Elliot, Missouri
Great value for the Patriots in the third round considering that Elliot can bring versatility to the defensive line. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder is a fantastic run stopper that can also get to the quarterback on passing plays. Elliot can help Adam Butler, Lawrence Guy and newly acquired Beau Allen and anchor the front seven. His stats at Missouri didn’t necessarily jump off the page, but this is your classic Bill Belichick move to get a player later in the draft with an elite skill set.
Jordan Elliot DT from Mizzou plays football like he is a basketball player. Watch this cross over. He does this about every 3rd play. He is insanely athletic and fun to watch! pic.twitter.com/rgB64HdwXK— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) March 31, 2020
3rd round, 102nd overall (via trade with PIT): WR K.J. Hill, Ohio State
Absolutely love this pick and the fit for the Patriots here with Hill late in the third round. A mature student of the game who now holds the record for the most catches in Ohio State history, Hill projects as a solid chain mover at the NFL level. He already met with the Patriots at the combine and said “it went well” and that they mostly talked about plays and how he does similar things that fit into their offense. Hill is a slippery receiver who excels out of the slot and with Julian Edelman turning 34 next month, the Patriots need a reliable slot option for the future. He improved his stock after showing his route running and ability to put defenders in a blender at the Senior Bowl. Hill fits immediately in with a Patriots offense looking for quick and versatile receivers.
Hill was super consistent at OhioState even playing with multiple QB’s over his time there. Plays super-fast and is a pure route runner who can make things happen. Hill has the ability to be a true steal for any team looking for WR's later in the draft.https://t.co/4LbZOHQnNS— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) January 30, 2020
5th round, 172nd overall: OT Saahdiq Charles, LSU
With the uncertainty surrounding Marcus Cannon’s age, and with Isaiah Wynn’s health being a question mark, the Patriots get a nice swing tackle here in Charles to go along with second-year man Yodny Cajuste. Charles, measured at 6-foot-4, 321 pounds, is a good athlete and plays with a strong base. He was one of the pieces in helping the LSU line win the Joe Moore Award last season, and projects as a spot starter at the NFL level. Some injury history during his time at LSU made his stock fall a bit and he needs to find a bit more consistency in his game, but with added quickness and time to develop, Charles can certainly play both tackle and guard at the NFL level.
Saahdiq Charles, OT, #LSU:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) April 16, 2020
• Agile and always active feet (+)
• Hand strength to sustain
• Always looks for extra work (++)
• Thin, but powerful lower half
• Ideal zone-scheme fit
• Pad/operation levels remain low
• Long arms that widen edges (++)
• G/OT flexibility pic.twitter.com/QgkNxPdssl
6th round, 180th overall (via trade with CIN): S Antoine Brooks Jr, Maryland
Brooks is one of my biggest sleepers in the draft as he has all the tools to help a safety group that needs some added youth to it. He has good instincts and loves to get downhill to make plays. He also tackles well in the open field and isn’t afraid of contact. Brooks ran a 4.64 at the scouting combine and has some potential to see regular action at both safety and special teams at the NFL level. He would be a perfect prospect here for Bill Belichick to get him in a veteran-heavy safety room where he can learn and develop for a year before making his impact in 2021.
It’s hard to replace a talent like Darnell Savage but @TerpsFootball coaches rave about DS Antoine Brooks Jr. (@Twandoee). Brooks has played nickel and safety and he makes a lot of instinctive plays downhill. Probably Terps top prospect this year. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/Wv0WhuoJri— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 7, 2019
6th round, 212th overall: WR James Proche, SMU
The Patriots were reportedly “gushing” over Proche after he was one of the standouts at this year’s Senior Bowl. Listed at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, the 23-year-old provides low risk and a high reward here in the sixth round. He has great hands and body control and offers experience both inside and outside the formation. He can bring some much-needed depth and youth into New England’s receiving group.
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
6th round, 192nd overall (via trade with GB): QB Steven Montez, Colorado
Bill Belichick dips into the Jordan Palmer class once again as he selects a quarterback a lot later than we may expect. Montez was a three-year starter at Colarado and has above-average arm talent. However, the lack of mobility in his game is the reason he will be a late-Day Three guy. I’m leading the Jarrett Stidham train so Montez will serve as the third quarterback in a room with the projected starter and Brian Hoyer (imagine saying this a year ago from today).
7th round, 230th overall: K Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern
Bass becomes the Patriots’ kicker of the future after Belichick cut ties with the franchise’s leading scorer earlier during the offseason. He hit 93% of his kicks in the 30-50-yard range and also handled kickoffs at Georgia Southern during all four of his years there. He would be filling the shoes of kicking legends Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski — no pressure, kid.