The wait is over, the 2021 NFL Draft has arrived! The first round of the league’s traditional college player selection meeting will take place tonight, and it projects to be an interesting one for the New England Patriots. Owning the 15th overall pick, the team could go in every direction — from selecting its quarterback of the future, to bolstering its defensive front seven, to addressing future needs at offensive tackle and cornerback.
No matter what the Patriots will do, Pats Pulpit has you covered! We will have plenty of coverage over the next three days (and beyond), so make sure to regularly check back for all the latest news, rumors and analysis. As for the first day of the event, look no further than right here: our Patriots news and rumors tracker that will be regularly updated throughout the day and into the night
Day 1: Round 1
When: Thursday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland OH
Coverage: Please check out our NFL Draft Viewing Guide
Time per pick: 10 minutes
Patriots draft picks
Round 1: 1-15
Round 2: 2-46
Round 3: 3-96
Round 4: 4-120, 4-122, 4-139
Round 5: 5-177
Round 6: 6-188, 6-197
Round 7: 7-242
The 15th overall selection is scheduled to be made between 10:20 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. ET at the latest. Realistically, however, it will happen earlier given that not all teams will wait until the end of their 10-minute window to announce their selection. Based on years past, you should expect New England’s pick to be made at around 9:20 p.m. ET.
Patriots draft needs, potential Thursday targets
Wide receiver: --
Offensive tackle: Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State), Samuel Cosmi (Texas)
Defensive tackle: Christian Barmore (Alabama)
Defensive edge: Jaelan Phillips (Miami FL), Azeez Ojulari (Georgia),
Linebacker: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
Safety: Trevon Moehrig (TCU)
Not including players expected to be out of New England’s range
Patriots and NFL rumors
7:20 pm: The Patriots are not expected to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo “tonight or anytime soon.” | Report
3:19 pm: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has reportedly “told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team.” | Report
2:41 pm: Former first-round quarterback and Patriots camp body Tim Tebow is apparently trying to work out as a tight end with the Jacksonville Jaguars. | Report
11:45 am: The New Orleans Saints are exploring a trade up into the top-10, but are apparently not targeting a quarterback. | Report
7:30 am: Multiple teams are expected to inquire about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but the chances of him getting traded appear to be “remote.” | Report
1-1 Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
For the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in the last seven, a quarterback gets drafted first overall. To nobody’s surprise, that quarterback is Trevor Lawrence. The Clemson QB was the best passer in college football last season and brings an impressive skillset to the table that should translate well to the NFL game. Lawrence should be a Day One starter in Jacksonville and help lead the team from the bottom of the league standings.
1-2 New York Jets: QB Zach Wilson, BYU
After trading away Sam Darnold earlier during the offseason, the road was clear for the Jets to pick a quarterback at No. 2. Unsurprisingly, New York went with BYU’s Zach Wilson. Arguably the best out-of-structure QB in this year’s draft, Wilson projects as an immediate starter for the Jets.
1-3 San Francisco 49ers: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
There was plenty of speculation and intrigue surrounding the 49ers’ pick after they made a massive trade up the board. Now we know who their target was: North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. While he started only one full season, his performance in 2019 was enough to earn him a top-three spot — and a shot at becoming San Francisco’s next franchise quarterback.
1-4 Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Quarterbacks have never gone 1-2-3-4, and the 2021 draft did not change this. The Falcons decided to go with arguably the best non-quarterback in the draft by adding Kyle Pitts to their offense. A complete tight end who has the tools to become a bona fide player at the next level, Pitts has “mismatch nightmare” written all over him.
1-5 Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Joe Burrow and his favorite college wide receiver are reunited again: the Bengals went with LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, who caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns playing alongside Burrow in 2019. With A.J. Green having left the organization, Cincinnati now has its new number one wide receiver.
1-6 Miami Dolphins: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
After the Burrow-Chase reunion, the Dolphins also reunite their second-year quarterback with one of his favorite weapons: Miami has picked Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle — teaming him up with Tua Tagovailoa again. Arguably the best slot weapon in the draft, Waddle will serve as the number one guy on the Dolphins’ receiving corps.
1-7 Detroit Lions: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
The best offensive tackle in this year’s draft remains on the board until the seventh overall selection. His fall does end, however, with the Lions adding him to an offensive line tasked with protecting offseason trade acquisition Jared Goff. Sewell is expected to slide into the left tackle spot to protect Goff’s blindside.
1-8 Carolina Panthers: CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
Despite some speculation that the Panthers might trade down, they eventually stayed put to select the first defensive player of the day: cornerback Jaycee Horn out of South Carolina. Horn is arguably the best man-cover cornerback in the draft, and was seen as a potential target for the Patriots as well.
1-9 Denver Broncos: CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
Even though they traded for Teddy Bridgewater earlier this week, the Broncos were seen as another strong candidate to pick a quarterback. Despite both Justin Fields and Mac Jones still on the board, however, they decided to go in another direction by picking a second straight cornerback: Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II will be Denver’s CB1 moving forward.
1-10 Philadelphia Eagles (via Dallas Cowboys): WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
Ten picks in, the third Crimson Tide product comes off the board. After making a trade with the Cowboys to jump ahead of the Giants, the Eagles pick wide receiver DeVonta Smith. The reigning Heisman Trophy Winner is coming off an outstanding season and will serve as the number one receiver for second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
1-11 Chicago Bears (via New York Giants): QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
While he entered the draft cycle as arguably the number two quarterback behind Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields remained on the board until the 11th overall selection. At that point, the Bears made a trade up from No. 20 to stop his fall and grab him. This also means that he will not end up in New England, despite the team being listed as the betting favorite to get him just earlier on Thursday.
1-12 Dallas Cowboys (via Philadelphia Eagles): LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
The first front seven defender has come off the board at No. 12, and it is one of the most versatile linebackers in this year’s draft. Micah Parsons out of Penn State, whose athletic skillset allows him to play a versatile role in the Cowboys’ defense — possibly filling the same basic role that Dont’a Hightower has in New England: all of them.
1-13 Los Angeles Chargers: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
The Chargers invested in their quarterback of the future last year, and now they are giving him some protection. Rashawn Slater, who can play both tackle and guard, will help Los Angeles keep Justin Herbert upright following his Rookie of the Year season.
1-14 New York Jets (via Minnesota Vikings): OT Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
After already picking second overall, the Jets decided to trade up in order to jump ahead of the Patriots. Their pick? Somebody to help protect Zach Wilson: Alijah Vera-Tucker, a versatile offensive lineman capable of playing tackle and guard, will become a Jet.
1-15 New England Patriots: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
The New England Patriots have their quarterback of the future — and it is the one that has been speculated about all along: Mac Jones out of Alabama will become New England’s next Q. Whether or not he actually becomes the starter in 2021 remains to be seen, but the plan is clear: he is the future.
1-16 Arizona Cardinals: LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
After Micah Parsons went to the Cowboys, the Cardinals brought the second best off-the-ball linebacker in this year’s draft on board: Zaven Collins looked like a man amongst boys at times at Tulsa, as he combined tremendous athleticism with intriguing versatility.
1-17 Las Vegas Raiders: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
The Raiders are a team for surprises, and this year’s first round was no different. Las Vegas bolsters its offensive line by picking a fifth Alabama product in offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood. While not as highly rated as some of the other OTs that were still on the board at that point, Leatherwood will help improve an O-line that parted ways with Trent Brown earlier this offseason.
1-18 Miami Dolphins: DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami FL
After going offense with their first pick, the Dolphins went defense with their second by going after arguably the best edge rusher in the draft. Phillips’ medicals were a question during the pre-draft process, but Miami apparently feels good about where he is at and what he can bring to a young defense.
1-19 Washington Football Team: LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky
With no quarterback available, the Football Team decided to stay put at No. 19 and bolster an already strong defense. Davis might be a raw player, courtesy of his 11 career starts, but he has a natural feel for the game and should fit in well with Ron Rivera’s scheme.
1-20 New York Giants (via Chicago Bears): WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Despite trading down from the 11th spot, the Giants were still able to add a wide receiver to their offense. Kadarius Toney was seen as as fringe first-rounder, but he will get plenty of opportunities alongside Daniel Jones in New York.
1-21 Indianapolis Colts: DE Kwity Paye, Michigan
Michigan has produced some solid edge rushers in the last few years, and Kwity Paye will try to follow their example after getting picked by the Colts. He is a project, but offers intriguing athleticism.
1-22 Tennessee Titans: CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
Even though he was unable to visit the draft after a recent Covid-19 diagnosis, Farley still had plenty of reason to be happy. One of the top-four cornerbacks in this year’s class, he has as high a ceiling as Horn or Surtain but his extensive injury history is a red flag. When healthy, though, Farley can be a difference maker.
1-23 Minnesota Vikings (via New York Jets): OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
With the Raiders picking Alex Leatherwood at No. 17, the Vikings were able to get a player projected to come off the board a lot sooner at No. 23. Darrisaw has all the tools to develop into a high-quality offensive tackle in the NFL — from his size, to his technique, to his physicality. While labeling a player as a “steal” at the 23rd selection and before he has even played a snap is a bit much, Minnesota can feel good about the value.
1-24 Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris, Alabama
The Steelers were a realistic candidate to go after a running back in the first round, and they did just that. Najee Harris, a chain-mover for the Crimson Tide last year, immediately becomes Pittsburgh’s featured back. He also becomes the sixth Alabama prospect to be taken on Day 1.
1-25 Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
After some previous reunions earlier in the draft — Joe Burow and Ja’Marr Chase; Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle — the Jaguars are responsible for the next one: Travis Etienne joins ex-and-still teammate Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville’s new-look offense.
1-26 Cleveland Browns: CB Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
The Browns’ front seven is one of the deepest in football, but the secondary was an area of concern. Adding Greg Newsome II as the fourth cornerback taken in the first round should certainly help: Newsome II is a physically gifted player well suited to play in an aggressive press-man scheme.
1-27 Baltimore Ravens: WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
After already acquiring Sammy Watkins earlier this offseason, the Ravens added another wide receiver for Lamar Jackson to work with. Rashod Bateman may not have been a part of the big three at wide receiver — Chase, Waddle, Smith — but he is a strong option in his own right, winning due to his solid size and impressive route running abilities.
1-28 New Orleans Saints: DE Payton Turner, Houston
The Saints were rumored as candidates to trade up as far as the top-10, but instead they stayed put at No. 28 and made the most surprising move of the first round. Payton Turner is a good linebacker, no doubt, but he was projected as a late second-round pick at best. That said, he possesses starter-level upside New Orleans apparently feels good about.
1-29 Green Bay Packers: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
With rumors about Aaron Rodgers being pretty unhappy in Green Bay, what did the team do? Pick a defensive player, of course. While adding a cornerback will likely not make Rodgers a lot happier, Stokes is a solid player who addresses a need for the Packers. However, an argument can be made that better CBs were still left on the board when the pick was made.
1-30 Buffalo Bills: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami FL
The Bills’ pass rush was nothing to write home about in 2020, so adding a player of Rousseau’s ability and build certainly makes sense. He is a project, but he could pay major dividends.
1-31 Baltimore Ravens: DE Jayson Oweh, Penn State
With their second first-round pick, the Ravens address their defensive edge. Oweh is an impressive athlete who has all the tools to become a star at the next level, but he needs to work on his pass rush moves and counters in order to succeed against NFL-caliber competition. His potential is enticing, though.
1-32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Joe Tryon, Washington
There was a run on edge rushers late in the first round and the reigning world champions joined the fun as well. Tryon is anothe project, but one that could make an already potent pass rush even more dangerous.
No picks in round one: Seattle Seahawks (2-56), Los Angeles Rams (2-57), Kansas City Chiefs (2-58), Houston Texans (highest pick 3-67)