The New England Patriots entered the NFL draft with a bang: after trading down from the 23rd spot in the first round, the team made a combined five selections in the second and third. Considering that three of those picks were made after the team moved up the board, the Patriots head into the third and final day of the event with no selections until the middle of the fifth round. That said, the team still owns six total picks and should once more have the flexibility to move all over the board.
With that said, let’s take a look at the top 50 prospects remaining on the Big Board to see who is left out there fore New England:
Third-round talents (12)
Jacob Eason, Washington; Jake Fromm, Georgia
The Patriots did not invest in the quarterback position over the first two days of the draft, but director of player personnel Nick Caserio pointed out that the team would add a quarterback alongside Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer at one point. Eason would have bigger upside than Fromm, but both could be on New England’s radar nevertheless.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
Even though this year’s wide receiver class is considered one of the deepest in recent memory, the Patriots have not yet invested in one of its members. Peoples-Jones would be an interesting mid-round target, tough, despite his pedestrian receiving statistics: Michigan’s offense made it difficult to properly assess his ceiling — one that could be reasonably high.
Hunter Bryant, Washington
The Patriots already drafted Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round, which might limit their need to go after another tight end on Day Three. That said, Bryant would give them one of the better pure receivers at the position.
Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn; Ben Bartch, St. John’s
The top of the Patriots’ offensive tackle position appears to be set in stone — Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon are penciled in as the starters, with Yodny Cajuste projected to fill the number three/swing role in 2020 — but that does not mean one of the better prospects still available could be added on Saturday.
Interior offensive line
Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
With David Andrews slated to return and Joe Thuney still on the roster, the Patriots may have limited incentive to draft an interior offensive lineman. That said, if Biadasz continues slipping down the board, the value might be too good to pass up.
Curtis Weaver, Boise State; Bradlee Anae, Utah
New England added Josh Uche in the second round on Friday and Anfernee Jennings in the third, and both should see considerable action on the defensive edge alongside Chase Winovich and John Simon. Adding players such as Weaver or Anae would therefore not be a priority on Day Three.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State
The Patriots could benefit from adding another off-the-ball linebacker to the equation to bolster the depth alongside Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley. Davis-Gaither would be a trade-up candidate, but he could play that role.
Bryce Hall, Virginia; Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
New England’s cornerback position is as deep as any in football, so it would not be a surprise if the team opted to forgo adding to it until one of the latter two rounds. As is the case with other positions, of course, the equation could change if one of the higher-rated players continues to slip down the board.
Fourth-round talents (26)
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State; Anthony McFarland Jr, Maryland
After cornerback, Running back might be the second deepest position on New England’s roster at the moment. While both Eno Benjamin and Anthony McFarland would add more developmental depth, it would not be surprising if the Patriots went the cornerback route: going value shopping first and foremost.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty; K.J. Hill, Ohio State; Tyler Johnson, Minnesota; Gabriel Davis, Central Florida
Even the fourth round of this year’s draft offers some intriguing talent at wide receiver. K.J. Hill in particular appears to be a player to watch from New England’s perspective: he is a smart and polished route runner who could offer developmental upside in the slot.
Brycen Hopkins, Purdue; Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic; Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Hopkins, Bryant and Okwuegbunam are receiving tight ends first and foremost and therefore in the mold of Dalton Keene when it comes to potential contributions to New England’s roster. That said, the team does still have only four players under contract at the position at the moment, so adding one of them would be smart business if only from a security perspective.
Saahdiq Charles, LSU
As noted above, the offensive tackle position appears to be in the safe hands of Wynn, Cannon and Cajuste for the time being. Charles could offer developmental upside, though.
Interior offensive line
Ben Bredeson, Michigan; Netane Muti, Fresno State; John Simpson, Clemson; Nick Harris, Washington; Shane Lemieux, Oregon; Logan Stenberg, Kentucky
The fourth round has some solid depth along the interior offensive line. While all the players listed here have some red flags for one reason or another — oftentimes their technical advancement — they could offer quality depth to compete against the likes of Hjalte Froholdt and Jermaine Eluemunor.
Leki Fotu, Utah; James Lynch, Baylor; Jason Strowbridge, North Carolina; Rashard Lawrence, LSU
New England’s defensive tackle position is set for 2020, but the future remains somewhat muddy with Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler both headed for unrestricted free agency next year. Adding a mid-round option — Leki Fotu or Rashard Lawrence appear to be the best fits among the fourth-round values — would therefore be a good decision.
Kenny Willekes, Michigan State; Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame; Alton Robinson, Syracuse
The Patriots already addressed its defensive edge on Day Two, but Willekes would still be an interesting target if the chance presented itself: he is a high-motor player who sets a hard edge against the run and also has shown a solid technical foundation.
Troy Pride Jr, Notre Dame; Darnay Holmes, UCLA
As noted above, the Patriots do not have a need to add another cornerback at the moment. That said, they could go after developmental upside and potential priority free agents on Day Three.
K’Von Wallace, Clemson
Even though the Patriots already added Kyle Dugger in Round Two and are deep at the safety position, K’Von Wallace is an attractive fourth-round talent due to his versatility and ability to make an impact on special teams. In that sense, however, he appears to be more of a “Kyle Dugger Light” than anything else.
Fifth-round talents (12+)
Lamical Perine, Florida; Joshua Kelley, UCLA
Perine and Kelley are both good football players, who could have value in a rotational role like the one they would find in New England. Other positions may have weaker overall depth, but in a fifth-round flyer on a running back would not be surprising.
Collin Johnson, Texas; James Proche, SMU; Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State
Similar to K.J. Hill on the fourth-round talent list, Proche appears to have an appeal to the Patriots due to his ability to perform out of the slot and see considerable snaps early on in the returngame. He would be a developmental target, but one worth investing in as a natural fit.
Thaddeus Moss, LSU
The son of Patriots legend Randy Moss is still on the board, and likely not to come off it before the fifth round. If New England wants to add a fundamentally sound blocking tight end to the selections of Asiasi and Keene, the LSU product should be on the team’s mind.
Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas; Jack Driscoll, Auburn
Adeniji and Driscoll are both developmental prospects and could therefore have intrigue in the fifth round or later — even though they are not starting-caliber material at the moment.
Larrell Murchison, North Carolina State
The defensive tackle position may not offer the best depth this year, but Murchison could be a good target in case the Patriots want to wait to wait a bit longer to address it.
Reggie Robinson II, Tulsa; Josiah Scott, Michigan State
If the Patriots do want to go after a cornerback in the draft (rather than in the subsequent free agency period, for example), fifth-round targets such as Robinson or Scott could be on their radar.
Geno Stone, Iowa
In case New England wants to add even more bodies at safety, higher-upside options than Stone — a foundationally sound but comparatively low-ceiling player — might be on the team’s wish list.
Best of the rest: QB Anthony Gordon, Washington State; QB James Morgan, Florida International; DT Raequan Williams, Michigan State; DE Nick Coe, Auburn; DE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina; LB Markus Bailey, Purdue; LB Evan Weaver, California; LB Justin Strnad, Wake Forest; S Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame; K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia