clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Monday Morning Mock Draft: Nobody knows what the Patriots will do in Round 1

Related: #PostPulpit Mailbag: Will the Patriots focus on the trenches in the 2022 NFL Draft?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 Utah at USC Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the NFL draft not even three weeks away, the New England Patriots remain one of the hardest teams to project. While they are expected to address most of their needs — offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback — early on, there is no telling in which direction they will eventually go in the first round.

Everything from staying put to trading back is on the table one year after the team drafted quarterback Mac Jones 15th overall. The latest batch of mock drafts reflects this: nobody has any idea what the Patriots will do on the first day of the draft.

Owning pick No. 21, the team does have plenty of options though.

Luke Easterling (USA Today): LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

The Eagles would love to land Lloyd at the next spot, which is why the Pats make this move, leaping in front of them to secure a three-down playmaker with impressive athleticism and versatility. Lloyd might not be quite on Micah Parsons’ level, but he could have a similar impact if deployed with similar creativity.

The first scenario we are looking at has the Patriots move up the board in a projected trade with the Los Angeles Chargers. Here, the Patriots jump Philadelphia in order to be able to grab one of the best linebackers in the draft: Devin Lloyd out of Utah. Waiting for Lloyd — arguably the best off-the-ball linebacker available — to fall to No. 21 is an unrealistic scenario.

Adding him to New England’s front seven would make sense. Lloyd is an elite athlete and would serve as a long-term replacement for still unsigned free agent Dont’a Hightower.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of LB Devin Lloyd at No. 17?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    A
    (315 votes)
  • 33%
    B
    (287 votes)
  • 16%
    C
    (144 votes)
  • 8%
    D
    (71 votes)
  • 5%
    F
    (45 votes)
862 votes total Vote Now

Ian Cummings (Pro Football Network): G Zion Johnson, Boston College

We’ve all been asking ourselves why the Patriots traded away Shaq Mason for a fifth-round pick, but the answer is right here in front of us. Clearly, they knew they could upgrade with Zion Johnson. That’s a joke — Mason is a great player and garnered All-Pro consideration last year. Johnson won’t be at that level right away, but he has that kind of upside. Johnson is a terrific athlete with great proportional length and leverage, and he dominates reps with his physicality and strength.

With Ted Karras leaving in free agency and Shaq Mason traded to Tampa Bay, the Patriots have a glaring need along their interior offensive line. While one of the open spots will likely be filled by third-year man Michael Onwenu, the other is up for grabs. Zion Johnson would certainly be an intriguing candidate to fill it though: one of the top guards available, he projects as a capable Day 1 starter.

The question, of course, is whether or not New England would actually invest a first-round selection in a guard. The team, after all, has had considerable success selecting offensive linemen in the middle rounds recently.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of Zion Johnson at No. 21?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    A
    (211 votes)
  • 32%
    B
    (466 votes)
  • 29%
    C
    (427 votes)
  • 14%
    D
    (213 votes)
  • 8%
    F
    (118 votes)
1435 votes total Vote Now

Keith Sanchez (The Draft Network): CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

The Patriots lost J.C. Jackson this offseason so they have holes at the corner position. They target Clemson corner Andrew Booth Jr. with the pick. Booth Jr. is a player who has shown to be an elite athlete and can play press-man like Bill Belichick loves to do in crunch time situations.

Jeff Kerr (CBS Sports): CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

The Patriots need a wide receiver, but Bill Belichick can’t pass up a defensive back after losing J.C. Jackson this offseason. Booth sitting there at No. 21 is too good to pass up, especially since he can play both man and zone coverage. With his polished footwork, Booth can become an instant star in New England.

With Pro Bowler J.C. Jackson in Los Angeles and no clear replacement anywhere to be found on the current roster, the Patriots go cornerback in these two scenarios. Andrew Booth Jr. is one of the top players available at the position and projects as a natural fit for New England’s man-coverage-heavy defensive scheme.

Booth Jr. would instantly take over a starting spot in the Patriots’ secondary and raise the unit’s floor quite a bit. At the moment, after all, the top outside cornerbacks are Jalen Mills, Malcolm Butler, Terrance Mitchell, Joejuan Williams and Shaun Wade.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of CB Andrew Booth Jr. at No. 21?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    A
    (486 votes)
  • 41%
    B
    (479 votes)
  • 12%
    C
    (141 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (9 votes)
1148 votes total Vote Now

Chad Reuter (NFL.com): S Jalen Pitre, Baylor

PROJECTED TRADE WITH GREEN BAY PACKERS

The deal with Miami for receiver DeVante Parker makes it even more likely the Pats trade out of their scheduled pick. Bill Belichick will gladly accept a third- and fourth-round pick from Green Bay to move down seven spots. New England could select Daxton Hill at this spot but Belichick might appreciate Pitre’s strength against the run and ability as a blitzer, as well as his movement in coverage.

The Patriots traded up in the first mock draft above, now they are trading back. Here, New England is sending the 21st selection to Green Bay in order to add third- and fourth-round picks and move back seven spots.

Once at No. 28, the Patriots add another safety: Jalen Pitre out of Baylor. Pitre would not necessarily fill an immediate need after the team already acquired Jabrill Peppers in free agency, but he would fit the mold of what New England is looking for defensively. After all, he offers considerable versatility and could eventually take over as Devin McCourty’s heir at the deep safety spot.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of S Jalen Pitre at No. 28?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    A
    (57 votes)
  • 20%
    B
    (164 votes)
  • 35%
    C
    (278 votes)
  • 22%
    D
    (176 votes)
  • 14%
    F
    (116 votes)
791 votes total Vote Now