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A few weeks removed from the first three installments of my seven-round New England Patriots mock draft, the team is likely finalizing its board as all eyes shift towards improving the roster even more through the draft. Everyone has dreams of the Patriots moving up in the first round to select their future QB1, but we shouldn’t put all those eggs in one basket. There is a ton of value to be found at key spots through all rounds of the draft.
Let’s dive into the third installment of my seven-round Patriots mock draft (please click here for Version 1.0, Version 2.0, and Version 3.0).
- Patriots trade 1-15 and 5-177 to the New Orleans Saints for 1-28 and 2-60
- Patriots trade 4-120, 4-139 and 7-242 to the San Francisco 49ers for 3-102
- Patriots trade 6-188 and 6-197 to the Jacksonville Jaguars for 5-170
1st round, 28th overall (via NO): LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Zaven Collins comes off the board here late in Round 1 as the Patriots find their eventual Dont’a Hightower replacement in the middle of their front seven. Collins offers a rare combination of size, speed, and play strength to play that middle linebacker role at the next level. He also has the ability to play off the ball, set the edge and come downhill and play physical in the run game.
A versatile player that has an elite skillset, Collins could hold multiple roles in the Patriots defense and be an impact player the moment he gets in the building.
Rare size. Versatile athlete. Can play on the line and off. Made winning plays in high-leverage spots. One of the best defensive prospects in the draft.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) February 21, 2021
Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins looks like a perfect fit for the Patriots.
2nd round, 46th overall: CB Kelvin Joseph, Kentucky
With the uncertainty surrounding both Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson beyond 2021, the Patriots are in the market for a potential elite cornerback in the early rounds of the draft.
Joseph, who plays at just under six feet and 200 lbs, has the size to be a physical, perimeter corner for the Patriots secondary. He is a big time athlete (he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at his pro-day) that displays his elite change of direction and fluid hips when covering, and has the ball skills and awareness at the catch point to play versus bigger wideouts. Joseph is a top-50 player in the class with the athleticism to cover all types of wide receivers.
Kelvin Joseph had the 2nd most INTs in the SEC last season— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 4, 2021
2nd round, 60th overall (via NO): OT Brady Christensen, BYU
The reason for the lack of pressure Zach Wilson faced at the collegiate level? Brady Christensen, BYU’s first consensus All-American since 2009. The 6-foot-5, 302-pound tackle displays athleticism and elite footwork to project as an NFL starter. Christensen can move with power and is consistent in his hand placement while being solid in the RPO and run game.
With Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn — pending his fifth year option being picked up — both on one-year deals, the Patriots should be in the market for a tackle in this years draft. Christensen checks all the boxes for what they are looking for.
The more I watch Brady Christensen the more I love him in the second round.— Damian Parson (@DP_NFL) April 9, 2021
Man this OT class is phenomenal.
Christensen is fun to watch on run actions.
+Physical at POA
+Athletic puller in space
I believe he could fit as a Guard if necessary! pic.twitter.com/4oks64L7iw
3rd round, 96th overall: WR Nico Collins, Michigan
The Patriots certainly added more depth and playmaking ability at the wide receiver position through free agency with the acquisitions of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor. They may not be in the market for a “true No. 1” wide receiver even without Julian Edelman simply because one is not needed due to the targets Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and James White are expected to get anyway.
However, Collins brings some serious juice to the position in the third round. Everything the Patriots thought N’Keal Harry would be is what Nico Collins is. He is true X-receiver that can dominate outside the numbers and consistently make plays down the field. Collins is a 50/50 specialist that has some DK Metcalf to his game and can sneakily make plays after the catch. He is a mature, physical receiver that could ultimately send N’Keal Harry packing.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: WR Nico Collins (Michigan) 6’4 215 lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 3, 2021
• Projects as a true X that can dominate at the catch point
• Physical receiver with strong hands
• Consistent play-maker down the field pic.twitter.com/Dk7sykbKcW
3rd round, 102nd overall (via SF): EDGE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest
Even with the addition of Matthew Judon and the expected development of Josh Uche and Chase Winovich, the Patriots may be in the market to continue to bolster their edge through the draft. Basham has ideal size and speed to hold his own versus NFL tackles — his elite bend and power off the edge make him an intriguing prospect. A high-motor player that can set the edge but is also near the top of his class in terms of defending the run, Basham is a smart and instinctual player that can thrive with added development.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: EDGE Carlos Basham Jr. (Wake Forest) 6’5” 285lbs.— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) February 26, 2021
• Elite run defender who will make his money on early downs.
• Strong at the point of attack, no issues setting a consistent edge.
• High upside as a pass rusher, stays true to his keys. pic.twitter.com/cezrv3B7cK
4th round, 122nd overall: QB Jamie Newman, Wake Forest/Georgia
Jamie Newman’s week at the Senior Bowl certainly did not 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 abilities to succeed at the position.
Newman is a Day 3 guy with arm talent and mobility to be able to make plays, but his throwing, especially his accuracy, remains 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.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: QB #12 Jamie Newman (Wake Forest) 6’3” 235 lbs.— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) April 5, 2021
• Strong developmental traits.
• Great build, has a proven ability to work within multiple schemes.
• Good fit to learn/work behind Cam Newton. pic.twitter.com/49lejx6cGq
5th round, 170th (via JAX): WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas
Looking for a Julian Edelman replacement on Day 3? Jaelon Darden is the guy for me. He is one of my favorite late-round prospects that has a realistic chance to be a dynamic player at the next level.
The only wide receiver that had a better college football season was Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, while Darden racked up 74 catches for 1,190 yards and 19 touchdowns in just nine (!) games. He went to North Texas at just 150 pounds and is only now starting to develop into his 175-pound frame. Still, he has elite speed that can stretch the field vertically, allowing him to be a threat underneath and in the intermediate game.
There may not be a shiftier player in the class — Darden is a threat to score from all three levels of the field.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: WR Jaelon Darden (5’8 175 lbs) North Texas— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) April 13, 2021
• Elite speed and separator out of the slot
• Dynamic playmaker after the catch
• Coming off a 74/1190/19 monster senior season in just 9 games pic.twitter.com/FgubYeAdYZ
How would you grade this mock draft?
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