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Michael McDermott’s three-round mock draft 1.0: Patriots land a top cornerback prospect, developmental quarterback

Related: Pats Pulpit Mock Draft Show: New England trades up all the way to No. 7

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are in a bit of a pickle when it comes to draft because they’re going to pick right where the top tier of talent is going to run out at most positions. In this mock draft, I have therefore elected to do it without trades and try to put together a worst-case scenario for the club.

Let’s start by looking at the first 14 picks before New England would be on the clock at No. 15:

1: JAX - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
2: NYJ - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
3: SF - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
4: ATL - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
5: CIN - Kyle Pitts, “TE”, Florida
6: MIA - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
7: DET - JaMarr Chase, WR, LSU
8: CAR - Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
9: DEN - Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
10: DAL - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
11: NYG - Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
12: PHI - Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama
13: LAC - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
14: MIN - Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern

1st round, 15th overall: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

Other considered options: WR Rashod Bateman, DE Jaelen Phillips, LB Zaven Collins

At this point of the board, I felt that the best value came down to Teven Jenkins, Collins, and Farley. All would be coming into situations where they don’t have to start right away as rookies but would have an opportunity to take over in a year.

Given that the Patriots can draft Pete Werner or Dylan Moses on Day 2, I felt they could afford to pass on Collins if they don’t find a trade-back partner. Jenkins has all the makings to be a successful right tackle in the NFL, but the first round might be too rich for the Patriots’ liking. Logan Mankins is the only first-round offensive lineman the Patriots have drafted since 2000 that didn’t start primarily at left tackle, but that’s because they had Matt Light starting there.

While the Patriots have decent depth at linebacker and tackle, they don’t have a lot of depth at the cornerback position. They do have Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson under team control for one more year, but there is no one behind them. Jason McCourty seems like a potential pickup after the draft to fill out the chart, and Joejuan Williams hasn’t played well enough to earn a consistent role on defense in two years.

Farley, meanwhile, has the length and athleticism to be a premier boundary cornerback and the IQ to be successful in both man and zone coverage.

However, he also comes with some problems. He has a pretty concerning injury history that includes an ACL injury as a freshman and back spasms that affected him for most of 2019. He’s also a relative newcomer at the position, transitioning from the quarterback position in college. He is also a bit inconsistent a tackler, although that’s easily fixed with the right coaching.

Farley will need to be coached up a bit to be able to recognize routes in zone and off-man coverage and make breaks on the ball. The idea is to have him learn from one of the best CBs to ever put on a Patriots uniform in Gilmore before having him take over next year should Gilmore or Jackson leave in free agency.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of CB Caleb Farley at No. 15?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    A
    (175 votes)
  • 27%
    B
    (520 votes)
  • 34%
    C
    (662 votes)
  • 15%
    D
    (304 votes)
  • 12%
    F
    (241 votes)
1902 votes total Vote Now

2nd round, 46nd overall: QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

Other considered options: OT Sam Cosmi, LB Jabrill Cox, LB Dylan Moses, FS Jevon Holland

Between the Patriots’ first- and second-round picks, I expect Kyle Trask to go off the board. Perhaps not to a quarterback-needy team, but rather one that can afford to develop him behind an established starter. With the Patriots missing out on Trask, they turn their attention to another SEC starting QB in Kellen Mond.

The Patriots have reportedly stayed in contact with the former Texas A&M QB, with him and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels exchanging texts. It could mean significant interest or it’s a giant smokescreen, but I wonder if that’s who the Patriots realistically think they can get on Day 2.

Mond is the closest QB to checking all of the Patriots’ boxes at quarterback with 33 career starts, a 26-7 record, and completion rate above 60 percent in his final two seasons. He also boasts an NFL-caliber arm and shows touch on passes in the short and intermediate passes, but will sometimes be too confident in his arm and make poor decisions. He does struggle with anticipatory throws and hitting passes down the field outside the numbers. Fortunately for him, the Patriots offense works from the inside out with a pair of tight ends to throw to between Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.

Mond’s ability to manage the game, provide enough from scrambles to keep drives alive, and quick release should make him a potential mid- to low-tier starting quarterback in the right system and with the right coaching. He would make a better backup to Cam Newton than Jarrett Stidham in 2021 with his skill set being closer to that of the Patriots’ likely starter, with the intent to give him the keys to the franchise a year or two later.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of QB Kellen Mond at No. 46?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    A
    (431 votes)
  • 40%
    B
    (719 votes)
  • 18%
    C
    (335 votes)
  • 9%
    D
    (178 votes)
  • 6%
    F
    (118 votes)
1781 votes total Vote Now

3rd round, 96th overall: LB Pete Werner, Ohio State

After getting a top cornerback prospect and their development quarterback, the Patriots turn their attention to try to pick up someone to develop in the defensive front seven. The team has plenty of options to consider on the defensive line or linebacker; here I went with Pete Werner as the top pick here because he will take over Ja’Whaun Bentley’s role as the team’s primary inside linebacker with the team moving around Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy.

Werner is more of an old-school type linebacker who attacks the run and is agile enough to stay in coverage over the middle or in man against slower tight ends and fullbacks. His role in New England would be mostly on early downs while he would be substituted out for Chase Winovich and Josh Uche when the Patriots want to put their best pass rushers on the field.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of LB Pete Werner at No. 96?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    A
    (193 votes)
  • 39%
    B
    (568 votes)
  • 32%
    C
    (468 votes)
  • 9%
    D
    (133 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (75 votes)
1437 votes total Vote Now