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Ryan Spagnoli’s seven-round mock draft 3.0: Patriots move all over the board, select quarterback of the future

Related: Pats Pulpit Mock Draft Show live: Who will the Patriots select in this two-round mock?

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For an in-depth look at all 2021 NFL Draft Prospects with rankings, strengths and weaknesses, stats, projections, please click here and also visit our Patriots Draft Guide.

A few weeks removed from the first two installments of my seven-round New England Patriots mock draft, the Patriots are fresh off spending north of $200 million in free agency while addressing key needs at tight end, wide receiver and in their front seven. New England also has its compensatory picks set and acquired additional capital by dealing long-time tackle Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans.

With key needs added through free agency on multi-year deals, the Patriots now have a core locked up for the next few seasons — making building around a rookie quarterback that much easier. A rookie coming in to learn behind a former MVP in Cam Newton as well as other key veterans will make his job that much easier in 2021 and beyond.

Let’s dive into the third installment of my seven-round Patriots mock draft (please click here for Version 1.0 and Version 2.0).

Trades

1st round, 7th overall (via DET): QB Justin Fields, Ohio State

After re-signing Cam Newton and locking in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry for the next three+ years, the Patriots make a splash here and move up to grab their quarterback of the future. New England is in a very intriguing situation; weeks ago, it would have been extremely bold to move this much future capital to climb up to get a future quarterback with the number of holes that needed to be filled.

However, with the core now locked up at tight end, the defensive front seven as well as upgrades at wide receiver with Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots are in a much better position to make a move like this. This roster has been built to build around a guy like Fields on a rookie contract for the next four to five years.

For Fields, he’s still a project that needs some polishing and development on his game. However, learning and sitting under a guy like Cam Newton, who he has been compared during the draft process, allows him to take a redshirt year and truly learn how to be a professional from one of the most respected guys in the league. Fields’ stock seems to be dipping a bit after the buzz around Trey Lance and Zach Wilson, but he would likely be the number one pick in any draft that doesn’t include Trevor Lawrence.

Fields is the best dual-threat prospect in the class as well as an accurate thrower to all three levels of the field. A Power-Five alumni and multi-year starter, he checks all the boxes the Patriots seem to look for to run their new style of offense implemented this past offseason. Fields is a slam-dunk pick, don’t overthink it.

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 continue to 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 but may succeed out of the slot or at the X in New England.

3rd round, 90th overall (via trade with MIN): CB Keith Taylor Jr, Washington

No more complaining about second-round defensive backs when you take them in the third, right? With the future of both Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson up in the air, going corner this early in the draft isn’t out of the question for the Patriots.

Washington does a great job in man coverage and excels in press coverage which is something Bill Belichick loves his corners to do. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds Washington displays solid length and physicality as a true outside corner. He’s a willing tackler who loves to get downhill and help in the run game. He is a true outside corner that locked up a lot of wideouts at the Senior Bowl a few months back.

4th round, 120th overall: WR Cornell Powell, Clemson

After signing two wide receivers and drafting St. Brown in the second round, the Patriots double-dip at the position. Powell has premier size at 6-foot-0, 205 pounds and comes with strong hands and smooth route-running ability. Despite being buried on the depth chart for four years, he burst onto the scene in 2020 hauling in 53 passes for 882 yards and seven touchdowns; he had his best collegiate game in the football semi-final versus Ohio State.

He has vertical speed, strong hands, and outstanding body control when airborne. Powell is certainly a project due to his lack of collegiate experience but somebody the Patriots can work with to reach his full potential. At both the Senior Bowl and his Pro Day he showed that he has the body type and route-running ability to succeed at the NFL level.

With the additions of both Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, Powell has the opportunity to develop inside the Patriots’ wide receiver room and won’t have to be an immediate impact player in his first year.

5th round, 145th overall (via trade JAX): OT Brenden Jaimes, Nebraska

We know how much Bill Belichick values his Day Three offensive lineman after striking gold with both Michael Onwenu and Shaq Mason in past drafts.

Given their current depth along the offensive line, particularly the guard spots with Ted Karras also back in the fold, the Patriots add another tackle to a group being headed by Isaiah Wynn, Trent Brown and Justin Herron. If we learned anything from last year, it’s that you can never have enough offensive linemen. Although Wynn and Brown have had solid careers here in New England, there’s certainly some questions about their availability and long-term outlook.

Another Senior Bowl standout, Jaimes was a multi-year starter for the Cornhuskers and brings athleticism and versatility at both tackle spots. He’s strong in his frame and has the ability to add power to the Patriots’ run game.

6th round, 187th overall (via trade with ATL): EDGE Shaka Toney, Penn State

The Patriots add yet another developmental depth piece to their front seven here with Shaka Toney out of Penn State in the sixth round. Toney, who projects as a rotational and package edge rusher at the pro level, displays elite quickness and athleticism around the corner. He brings power and solid hands off the edge but will need to add a bit more weight to his frame to truly reach his full potential at the next level.

Poll

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  • 38%
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