This year’s draft is a little different for the New England Patriots: not only are they picking earlier than than they are used to — their first selection is coming 23rd overall — it also is their first draft in almost two decades without Tom Brady in the fold. On top of his departure and the uncertainty at quarterback, the Patriots also need plenty of improvement at some key positions offensively.
With that said, let’s take a look at the first of three seven-round mock draft attempts.
- Patriots trade picks 1-23, 3-98 and 6-195 to Detroit for pick 2-35 and 3-67 and a 2021 fourth-round selection.
- Patriots trade picks 6-204 and 6-212 to Jacksonville for pick 6-189.
- Patriots trade picks 6-213 and 6-230 to Minnesota for pick 6-205.
In just about every mock draft I’ve done, I’ve traded out of the first round to hopefully pick up second- and third-round picks along the way. Now, I’m not Bill Belichick by any means, but I think with a class extremely deep at a lot of positions of need, it makes the most sense to trade 10-12 picks back and pick up some more selections right in the middle of the second and third rounds. Another thing too, if we know one thing it is that Belichick hates drafting and then waiting 50-60 picks until his next selection, so trading out of the first round to pick up some room in the bulk of the second and third makes sense here.
2nd round, 35th overall (via trade with DET): LB Patrick Queen, LSU
With Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy leaving via free agency, the Patriots will now need to insert some youth into their linebacker room. Dont’a Hightower is on the back-nine of his career while young and promising players such as Ja’Whaun Bentley and Chase Winovich will look to make a big jump in 2020. Adding Queen to this group brings a ton of speed and athleticism to the Patriots’ linebacker position. At 6-foot-0, 230 pounds to go along with his 4.5-second 40-yard dash, Queen can cover sideline to sideline with great instincts and playing speed. If he makes it to New England — he was the only linebacker they met with at the combine — whether it is at 23 or a pick early in the second, it would be a slam dunk.
Patrick Queen has an unteachable knack of finding the football.— Sports By Sollin (@SportsNewsD) February 20, 2020
An absolute master at diagnosing plays.
This is a 1st round LB.
If he falls out of the 1st round, whoever ends up with him will be getting a steal. pic.twitter.com/0cuzBoswHN
3rd round, 67th overall (via trade with DET): TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
Finally! Bill Belichick lands his tight end of the future with Trautman who checks 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 is listed at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, he can run block and is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. With his basketball background, Trautman can go up and get it. 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, 87th overall: WR Van Jefferson, Florida
The son of former Patriots wide receiver and current New York Jets receivers coach Shawn Jefferson brings a unique skillset to New England’s offense. Another Senior Bowl standout, who racked up a solid and consistent career at Ole Miss and Florida, Jefferson is a great separator and a fluid route runner, smooth in and out of his breaks and can create separation. He has strong hands with a big catch radius and has experience both inside and outside. He may not “wow” you in terms of his speed, but he creates enough wiggle with his footwork and physicality to get away with it at the line of scrimmage. Jefferson can be a chain mover that will excel in the intermediate-deep game right away at the NFL level.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: WR- Florida, RS-SR. Van Jefferson 6'2" 200 lbs. Senior Bowl standout and racked up a solid /consistent career at Ole Miss & Florida. Great at separating & very fluid route runner. Son of former Patriot WR & current Jets WR coach, Shawn Jefferson. pic.twitter.com/AEKUDRn7X9— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 5, 2020
3rd round, 100th overall: DT Jordan Elliot, Missouri
Great value for the Patriots here as 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.. Taker of souls. pic.twitter.com/3uCUszl0sx— Luke Inman (@Luke_SpinmanNFL) March 8, 2020
4th round, 125th overall: Jack Driscoll, Auburn
A UMass transfer, Driscoll was super consistent at his final two years at Auburn, protecting for likely Patriots starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham during his senior season. Driscoll is a very versatile lineman playing a good amount of right tackle and guard throughout his collegiate career. He is a tough and physical blocker who is very good at the line of scrimmage and plays with an edge to be able to take on some of the best pass rushers. Driscoll may project to more of a guard at the NFL level, but the Patriots pick up a much needed plug-and-play lineman here at pick 125.
UMASS/Auburn grad transfer Jack Driscoll working on Sweat again: Nice recovery off quick set. Solid hands. pic.twitter.com/4ji0yVkieh— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) April 26, 2018
5th round, 189th overall (via trade with JAX): S J.R. Reed, Georgia
As a senior at Georgia, Reed was named first-team All-American not just due to his 54 tackles and an interception. He also possesses great range for a safety that is an above-average tackler in the open field. Reed is a mature player with a great work ethic that loves to get downhill and help out in the run game. With the Patriots’ safety group on the older side, they will look to add some youth to that position and a redshirt type year for Reed may help benefit him and the Patriots in the long run.
J.R. Reed with the RANGE pic.twitter.com/EBXnY0aEyB— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 22, 2019
5th round, 195th overall: DE Oluwole Betiku Jr, Illinois
A former five-star recruit, Betiku Jr. played in 14 games at USC before missing all of 2018 after undergoing hip surgery. He then headed to Illinois as a graduate transfer and shined in his lone season under head coach Lovie Smith: Betiku Jr. finished 2019 with 36 tackles — 14 of which for loss — as well as nine sacks and 14 quarterback hurries. The lack of tape and his injury history may scare some teams but this is a low risk-high reward type pick for Belichick’s staff here late in the fifth round.
The nation’s leader in tackles for loss (10.5) and tied for the most sacks with 7, is Illinois grad transfer Oluwole Betiku Jr. (@Kingwolehoudini). He has been a monster this season, absolutely disruptive and quick off the ball. @WholeNineSports #WNSFilm pic.twitter.com/WOsT1dZj7N— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) September 25, 2019
6th round, 205th overall (via trade with MIN): K, Tyler Bass - Georgia Southern
Bass is the Patriots’ kicker of the future after Belichick cut ties with the franchise’s leading scorer, Stephen Gostkowski, earlier during the offseason. Bass 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.
Tyler Bass boots a 50-yard FG to extend GS’ lead to 17-7. pic.twitter.com/QUbAaFmbDI— Ryan Kostensky (@RyanKostensky) December 15, 2018
7th round, 241st overall: QB Nate Stanley, Iowa
The Patriots have made it seem like the torch is being passed on from Tom Brady to Jarrett Stidham, and with the current cap space and cutting Cody Kessler a few weeks back, all signs point to the Patriots selecting a quarterback in this year’s draft. The question is where and in this scenario the seventh round is the answer. Stanley has a strong arm and makes the right decisions, projecting as a long-term backup at the next level