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Ryan Spagnoli’s seven-round mock draft 1.0: Patriots bolster their front 7, WR position

Related: Monday Morning Mock Draft: Micah Parsons is seen as a realistic first-round option for the Patriots

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

This year’s draft is a little different than what we are used to; not only are the New England Patriots selecting the highest since picking Jerod Mayo 10th overall in 2008 but they also enter with no clear-cut plan at the quarterback position right now. The 2021 draft is therefore extremely important for the Patriots as they look to add skill and youth to several holes that they have on both sides of the ball.

At the moment, these are the Patriots’ 10 draft picks for the 2021 NFL Draft: one first-rounder (No. 15), one second-rounder (No. 46), one third-rounder (No. 96 compensatory pick for Tom Brady)*, one fourth rounder (No. 120) plus compensatory fourth rounders for Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins (Nos. 139 and 145)*, one fifth-rounder (No. 159), two sixth rounders (No. 197 via Dallas, No. 199) and one seventh-rounder (No. 241).

*compensatory picks aren’t released yet but per NFL.com New England is projected to receive picks 3-96, 4-139, and 4-145 as of right now.

Trades

  • Patriots trade 1-15, 3-96 to the Tennessee Titans for 1-22, 2-53, and a 2022 fifth-round pick.
  • Patriots trade 4-120, 4-145, and a 2022 third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for 3-91 and 5-170.
  • Patriots trade 5-159 and 6-197 to the Jacksonville Jaguars for 5-146

1st round, 22nd overall (via trade with TEN): DT Christian Barmore, Alabama

The Patriots stick to the trend of drafting Nick Saban alumni as they get a disruptive playmaker in the heart of their defense with Christian Barmore. With both Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler set to hit free agency and both being retained an unlikely outcome, New England will need to find other ways to beef up its defensive front seven.

Barmore burst onto the scene in 2020 when he flashed consistent skills against the run and showed he can be disruptive as a pass rusher in the middle of Alabama’s defense. For his size, he displays great foot speed that makes him a hard assignment for interior offensive linemen. Overall, the Patriots invest in a player that could develop into a potential game-changer in the middle of their defense for years to come.

2nd round, 46th overall: WR Amon Ra St. Brown, USC

After failing to select a wide receiver in last year's draft and seeing the group underperform for the last two seasons, the Patriots make a splash here and draft dynamic playmaker Amon St. Brown out of USC. St. Brown has been mocked towards the end of the first round in some drafts due to his ability to be a versatile chip on offense and his elite ball skills, but he comes off the board in the mid-second here.

St. Brown reminds me a bit of Justin Jefferson due to his smooth route running and ability to find soft spots on the defense after spending time in college both on the inside and the outside. St. Brown provides a Day One impact for the Patriots as they desperately look for elite talent at wide receiver this offseason. He projects as a number one wideout at the pro-level that can excel at any spot on offense.

2nd round, 53rd overall (via trade with TEN): LB Jabril Cox, LSU

It’s no secret that the Patriots’ weakness last year was at linebacker after Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts left in free agency to parlay with Dont’a Hightower’s opt-out. New England has spent top-100 picks on its front seven over the last few drafts with Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Chase Winovich being brought in. Now, they add another piece in versatile linebacker Jabril Cox.

Cox, a North Dakota State transfer, is arguably the best coverage linebacker in this year’s draft class as he popped all over his LSU tape running down tight ends, backs, and wideouts. He brings size and speed to a defense that is still looking to add athleticism and versatility to its linebacking room.

3rd round, 91st overall (via trade with CLE): OT Jackson Carman, Clemson

Not the sexiest pick in the world, but we have to be prepared for the Patriots to invest in an offensive lineman early in the 2021 draft. With Joe Thuney likely set for a big payday elsewhere, David Andrews hitting free agency, and the uncertainty surrounding Marcus Cannon’s future, the Patriots may be in the market for another blocker. We saw last year that once Isaiah Wynn went down, the team’s season took a turn for the worse due to the lack of reliable swing tackles on the roster.

Jackson Carman was a consistent tackle that spent years protecting Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. He is athletic in his big frame and has good explosiveness both vertically in the run game and laterally in pass protection. Carman allows for another young, stud offensive lineman to add to a strong core of Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, Shaq Mason, and likely David Andrews.

4th round, 139th overall: QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest/Georgia

Jamie Newman’s week at the Senior Bowl certainly didn’t go as well as he wanted, but fans need to remember that it was his first time playing in that type of environment in over a year. The former Wake Forest quarterback that was set to transfer to Georgia prior to opting out of the 2020 season is a project at the quarterback position but one that has all the tools and athletic ability to play the position.

Newman is a Day Three guy that has all the arm talent and mobility to be able to make plays but his throwing, especially his accuracy, is a work in progress. The Patriots took Jarrett Stidham in a similar spot in the 2019 draft and with his future uncertain as well, New England is trying to strike lightning in the bottle with Newman here in the fourth round.

5th round, 146th overall (via trade with JAX): EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State

Toney is one of those tweeners that may be able to play some off-ball linebacker at the pro-level with some development. The athletic traits are all there for him after he led the Nittany Lions with five sacks in 2020 and continues to fly up draft boards after a solid week down in Mobile. The Patriots add another depth piece to their front seven and someone who should be able to come in and contribute in some sorts his rookie season.

5th round, 170th overall (via trade with CLE): TE Quintin Morris, Bowling Green

Although the Patriots double-dipped at the tight end position relatively early on in the 2020 draft, they continue to add to the position here with Bowling Green’s Quintin Morris. Morris projects as a TE2 at the pro-level and moves extremely well in his 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame. Morris made a living through the middle of the field in college and has the tools to be a reliable blocker in the run and pass pro game as well.

With the Patriots trying to survive life after Rob Gronkowski, adding a veteran free agent is the best option for 2021 but continuing to add youth to the position is the right move in the fifth round.

6th round, 199th overall: WR Josh Palmer, Tennessee

ALERT! ALERT! TOM BRADY PICK!! With no Scouting Combine this season, the Patriots continue to draft Senior Bowl standouts by going Josh Palmer out of Tennessee — a mature wide receiver that can stretch the field vertically and go up and get it as good as anyone in the class.

Palmer has the opportunity to be the Tyler Johnson or Darnell Mooney of the 2021 wide receiver class. He wins with his athleticism and in-air adjustments to the ball, but can struggle off the line of scrimmage at times as he doesn't have much variety in his releases. Overall, Palmer is the type of receiver that can come in and help the Patriots get younger and more athletic at the wide receiver position.

7th round, 241st overall: LB K.J. Britt, Auburn

As we saw down the stretch last season, it doesn’t hurt to have a lot of depth at the linebacker position. The Patriots scoop up KJ Britt out of Auburn late in the seventh round here. He can potentially add some special teams value if he can make it through training camp, and beat out players such as Cassh Maluia or Terez Hall. Considering his draft status as a de facto priority free agent, however, he probably is more of a practice squad candidate than anything else.

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