Now that we are a few weeks into free agency, I thought it would be a good time to release my Mock Draft 2.0. In my first mock, which I released before the Super Bowl, I had the New England Patriots focusing on the defensive backfield, and staying at pick No. 21 to do it.
However, looking at this class — thin up top, but incredibly deep — and knowing how the Patriots approach the draft, I think it is very likely that they decide to trade out of 21. With the exception of last year, when they traded up for Christian Barmore and made no other trades, the Patriots are usually good for quite a few trades, so I decided to make a few here as well.
Let’s get into it.
TRADE: Patriots trade 1-21 and 2023 6th round pick to Detroit for 1-32, 3-66, and 3-97
Could there still be an impact player on the board at No. 21? Absolutely, and in this mock, there is. However, the Patriots have a ton of holes on their roster, and with the talent through the middle rounds here, they can’t resist getting two more top-100 picks.
TRADE: Patriots trade 1-32 to Atlanta for 2-43 and 3-74
Patriots fans wouldn’t be happy on Thursday night if the Patriots decided to trade out twice instead of taking a player. Friday night might make them feel a little better, because they would have six picks on Day 2.
Round 2, Pick 43: WR George Pickens, Georgia
Pickens is a big-bodied receiver measuring at 6-foot-3, but, don’t worry, he’s far from N’Keal Harry. Pickens sprinted a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and has shown a great ability to create separation while running routes. He also has the ability to make contested catches, and has consistently made highlight-reel catches.
Pickens would give the Patriots an instant upgrade at the outside receiver spot, and help Mac Jones make that crucial second-year leap.
Here we see him use his speed to just out run the defender deep, then shows great tracking ability and body control to lay out for the ball, then the hand strength to pull it in and hold on through contact with the ground pic.twitter.com/D2vyCcnAIa— Jeremy (@PopesFFH) March 18, 2022
TRADE: Patriots trade 2-54, 4-127, and 5-170 to Washington for 2-47
By trading back twice, the Patriots now have a lot of draft capital. They use some of it to go get a player that they don’t want to miss out on.
Round 2, Pick 47: CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
The Patriots are in desperate need of help at the cornerback position, and Gordon could come in and be an immediate upgrade. He is a willing tackler, and a solid coverage corner as well. His combine, where he only ran the 40, was a little disappointing, but he has a chance to show the crazy athleticism that you saw on film at his pro day later this week.
Washington CB 2 Kyler Gordon putting on a clinic on how to read a receivers route and run it for him! Also love him highly-pointing the ball like it was thrown for him. The more tape I study of Gordon the more I like. He’s a lock as a Day 2 pick IMO. pic.twitter.com/2Tugas92Jm— Todd McShay (@McShay13) January 7, 2022
Round 3, Pick 66: G Dylan Parham, Memphis
The Patriots are working on retooling their offensive line, and Parham would be a great addition for them. He brings the flexibility of playing both center and guard, and even played a little tackle at Memphis (though he probably can’t do that in the NFL). For a team that needs to improve along its O-line, a guy with the talent and versatility of Parham would be a welcome addition.
2022 #Patriots Draft Target Thread— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) March 24, 2022
IOL Dylan Parham#Memphis
(6’3” - 311lbs)
I think Dylan Parham can be the Ted Karras to Michael Onwenu’s Shaq Mason. In other words, he’s good and I think he isn’t getting enough credit. pic.twitter.com/kKWYmDxJrU
TRADE: Patriots trade 3-74 and 6-200 to Atlanta for 3-82, 5-151, and 2023 5th round pick
The Patriots move back in the third round, but up from the sixth to fifth, while picking up a selection for next year in the process.
Round 3, Pick 82: LB Channing Tindall, Georgia
The Patriots have obvious needs at linebacker. They traded for Mack Wilson and brought back Ja’Whaun Bentley, but they still need at least one more guy. Tindall may not be their prototypical ‘backer, but the speed and versatility that he would bring to the defense might be unmatched by anyone else in this linebacker group.
He ran a 4.47-second 40 at the Combine, and followed it up with a 42-inch vertical and almost an 11-foot broad jump. He would be an instant shot of athleticism to New England’s linebacker unit, and could go a long way to making this defense more explosive than it was last year, when, let’s be honest, the Patriots looked very slow at times.
TRADE: Patriots trade 3-85 to Cleveland for 3-99, 7-223, 2023 4th rounder, and 2023 5th rounder
Once again the Patriots trade back in the third round, this time not only picking up a seventh-rounder but also a pair of Day 3 picks in 2023. The Patriots like having seventh-round selections, because those guys are essentially undrafted free agents without having to compete for their services.
Round 3, Pick 97: LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati
The Patriots double-dip at linebacker in the third round. This is similar to what they did in 2020, when they selected two tight ends at the end of the third round. That decision did not work out yet, but I am more confident that this will.
Beavers could be a perfect fit for them, after all. He has the size at 6-foot-4 and almost 240 pounds, which allows him to take on offensive linemen, but he also has the speed and agility to be able to chase backs out of the backfield and possibly even stick with tight ends. Getting back-to-back linebackers, the Patriots could have two guys who could be starters for them almost instantly, and make the defense much younger and more athletic.
Here’s three-clip highlight on why @GoBearcatsFB LB Darrian Beavers, a throwback big ‘backer (6040v, 252v, 9 5/8 hand, 32 5/8 arm, 81 wing), is one of the most versatile defenders in 2022 NFL draft. First, he has frame to handle TEs in red-area.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/TzXtDmr7WA— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 12, 2022
Round 3, Pick 99: CB Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State
So you say you want to get faster and more athletic on defense? How about a guy who is 6-foot-3 and ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash? What if I told you that same guy ran a 3.94-second short shuttle, and a seemingly impossible 6.48 3-cone drill? Does that sound like a guy you’d be interested in? I thought so.
That’s what Zyon McCollum brings to the table. Now, he’s coming from Sam Houston State, so he is far from a finished project, and his arms are a little shorter than what you’d like for an outside corner. However, he held his own at the Senior Bowl, and the Patriots aren’t afraid to coach guys up in the secondary.
McCollum is one of my favorite athletes in the draft, and he would definitely help out against some of the top end speed on the AFC offenses.
To gain something you must give something, and time is the most valuable thing you have to offer. pic.twitter.com/2BuQUiTSlH— zyon! ²²3 (@zyon_mccollum) February 10, 2022
Round 5, Pick 151: DT Neil Farrell Jr., LSU
The Patriots have added to their defensive front a lot in the last few years, but they still don’t have a guy like Neil Farrell. He is a true nose, but one with some explosiveness. His athleticism isn’t fantastic, and so there may not be a lot of teams in the league that covet him, but he could definitely have a role on the Patriots.
If he can improve his athleticism a bit, he could end up being a key piece in the middle of the defensive line, next to Christian Barmore.
Why does anybody invest in nose tackles any more? Neil Farrell (DT, LSU #92) shows you why.— EJ Snyder (@thedraftsmanFB) March 21, 2022
Watch his first step. Beats the G inside and the run play is essentially over. Brian Robinson has nowhere to go. Farrell controls about a 3-yd. swath right in the middle if the line. pic.twitter.com/QpToWALa5w
Round 6, Pick 200: WR Bo Melton, Rutgers
It’s been far too long since the Patriots have drafted a player from one of their favorite college programs, and Melton changes that. He might be looking at a career in the slot with his size, and he certainly possesses the speed to do so, running a 4.34-second 40, followed up by a 6.81-second 3-cone drill at his pro day.
New England took Pickens with its first pick, and now, with the second to last finally adds another receiver. For the record, there is almost a 100 percent chance that the Patriots end up with Alabama’s Slade Bolden, but I do believe that he is more of an undrafted free agent.
Rutgers WR Bo Melton is a big-time sleeper— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 3, 2022
Sudden off the line, sweet feet, and now confirmed 4.34 speed
Rutgers O and QB play hurt him badly
Leading receiver last 3 years, last two of them by almost double next-highest guy
Round 7, Pick 223: ST Drew Hartlaub, Penn State
You read that correctly, I designated Hartlaub as a special teams player. At Penn State’s pro day, he ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash, and was a gunner for the Nittany Lions last season. With Matthew Slater in the twilight of his career, it is time to take the next special teams ace in New England.
Penn State special teams ace Drew Hartlaub ran a 4.22 at the team’s pro day. That is the school’s official time, not off a scout’s watch. Head coach James Franklin was relaying times to family and friends watching and yelled “he’s very fast.” Hartlaub is 5’11” and 170 pounds.— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 24, 2022
So there you have it. No sense in reading anything else before the draft, because this is exactly what the Patriots will be doing the last weekend of April.
In all seriousness, I love the idea of stockpiling picks and getting younger and more athletic. This is what the Patriots would do if they went this route on draft weekend. It would be a rough Thursday night for Patriots fans, but the payoff would be worth it. Let me know what you think about the draft down below!
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