Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft is in the books and as the kids say these days, Bill Belichick was “in his bag” Thursday night. After trading back from No. 21 overall, his New England Patriots selected UT Chattanooga’s offensive lineman Cole Strange.
While Strange immediately fills a hole at left guard, the Patriots now turn their attention to Friday night to continue to shape their roster. They will do so plenty of ammunition, as they hold three selections (No. 54, 85, 94) after last night’s trade back with Kansas City.
So, as Bill Belichick explained last night, let’s reset the board — with some help from our very own Pats Pulpit Big Board — to find the best remaining talent for the Patriots on day two.
*Not included on the Pats Pulpit big board
First-round talents (3)
7 members of the first-round talent group were drafted on Day 1
David Ojabo, Michigan
Ojabo was considered a late-first round pick to many before he tore his achilles during his pro day workout. Despite the injury, his talent level and physical tools will likely result in him hearing his name called Friday night. Now with an extra day two selection, Ojabo could be a strong value pick for New England.
Nakobe Dean, Georgia
The Patriots passed on every linebacker last night to trade down from No. 21 overall and again passed on Nakobe Dean to snag Cole Strange. That doesn't mean they may not be high on Dean, however, as they have made it known they hope to get faster on defense. Dean’s size (5-foot-11, 229 pounds) doesn't align with what New England typically looks for in their linebackers, but his play speed is evident.
Andrew Booth Jr, Clemson
One of the biggest surprises from the first-round was Andrew Booth Jr. not be selected — who was ranked No. 2 on the Pats Pulpit Big Board. Booth projects as a starting outside cornerback who has all the tools to be a legitimate player at the next level. With a need still at the position, perhaps New England works their way back up the board to add the former Tiger.
Second-round talents (21)
1 member of the first-round talent group were drafted on Day 1
*James Cook, Georgia, *Breece Hall, Iowa State
The Patriots have a need a running back, specifically a heir/backup for James White. It seems unlikely the Patriots will address this on day two, but perhaps they decide they don't want to pass up the talent level of Cook or Hall if they slide down the board.
Skyy Moore, Western Michigan; Christian Watson, North Dakota State; *Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
After missing out on the run of wide receivers last night, the Patriots still have their choice of playmakers available to them at the receiver position in round two. With Devante Parker joining Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers on the roster, New England will not be limited to a certain style of receiver. Moore, who has drawn comparisons to Julian Edelman, is certainly a name to watch as a dynamic slot option.
*Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
Patriots fans might assist with the ongoing construction at Gillette Stadium by burning it down if the Patriots select another offensive lineman with their next selection. However, Strange projects as an interior lineman, leaving their future at offensive tackle still up in the air.
Boye Mafe, Minnesota; *Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State, *Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
EDGE has been a position not discussed enough with the Patriots. After releasing Kyle Van Noy, their plan across from Matt Judon is anyone’s guess. Last year’s third-round pick Ronnie Perkins could be in the cards, but the organization’s confidence level in him after what was basically a redshirt season is anyone’s guess. Mafe would be an intriguing fit, as he does everything the Patriots ask for in an edge defender.
DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M; Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma, *Logan Hall, Houston; *Travis Jones, UConn; *Phidarian Mathis, Alabama
Unfortunately, Jordan Davis did not fall to the Patriots last night. That means they still could use another body along the defensive line. DeMarvin Leal, who entered last season as a projected top-10 pick, has the makings of a Patriots’ defensive lineman. This group offers some big two-gap nose tackles in Travis Jones and Phidarian Mathis.
Christian Harris, Alabama; Chad Muma, Wyoming; *Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
Likewise with Ronnie Perkins, nobody quite knows how the Patriots feel about their linebacker room. They have been quietly adding speed over the last few seasons with players like Josh Uche, Cameron McGrone, Raekwon McMillan, etc., but have struggled to get it on the field for whatever reason. If they are confident in this bunch, the need for a linebacker gets pushed to day three. If not, however, there is plenty of talent (and speed) available to pick from Friday night.
Kyler Gordon, Washington; *Roger McCreary, Auburn
We all know cornerback is still a giant question mark on the current roster, so it would be no surprise to see them add one on day two. Gordon would be a perfect fit in the current defense as he is an extremely versatile defensive back with great athleticism.
Jalen Pitre, Baylor; *Jaquan Brisker, Penn State
Talking about a position less secondary, perhaps New England feels they can find a better talent at the safety spot. Jalen Pitre would be a home run pick for the Patriots Friday night as another versatile and athletic defender. He lined up everywhere for the Baylor Bears last year — deep safety, box, slot, and even at edge rusher.
Third-round talents (26)
0 members of the first-round talent group were drafted on Day 1
*Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
Sticking with the running backs, it would be no surprise if the Patriots found a way to add Brian Robinson at some point this draft. He is just a solid overall football player that is strong in pass protection and will contribute on special teams. Coming from Tuscaloosa, he just seems like a Patriot.
John Metchie, Alabama; George Pickens, Georgia; *Calvin Austin III, Memphis; *Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
Metchie and Pickens may be two of the most interesting names to watch Friday night. Both have talent levels that could have saw them selected in the first-round, yet a torn ACL and off field issues, respectively, have decreased their draft stock. The Patriots should be thrilled if they are able to get their hands on either.
Dylan Parham, Memphis; Max Mitchell, Louisiana; Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State; Ed Ingram, LSU, *Daniel Faalele, Minnesota, *Sean Rhyan, UCLA, *Jamaree Salyer, Georgia
It still seems unlikely New England would dip back into the offensive line pool in round three after Thursday, but we’ve all learned to never doubt Bill Belichick. Perhaps they like the value of an offensive tackle such as Nicholas Petit-Frere or Daniel Faalele.
Josh Paschal, Kentucky; *Drake Jackson, USC; *Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma
Josh Pachal may be one of my favorite players this draft, again fitting the bill of just a solid football player that is drawing comparisons to Trey Flowers.
Channing Tindall, Georgia; Brandon Smith, Penn State; Troy Andersen, Montana State; *Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati, *Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma
The athletes at linebacker will pour into the third round as well. Troy Anderson is one of the most versatile players in the entire draft, making him an enticing developmental linebacker. Beavers and Smith both project as Patriot-style linebacker (240+ pounds) who also have new era athleticism.
*Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State; *Marcus Jones, Houston, *Coby Bryant, Cincinnati, *Martin Emerson, Mississippi State, *Tariq Woolen, UTSA
More potential cornerback options for New England, including perhaps the most prototypical Patriot in the draft: Zyon McCollum. McCollum is a non-power five corner who dominated the combine and excels in press-man coverage. Jones is also a name to watch, who has four-down versatility and is an excellent athlete. His size may limit him to the slot, but the Patriots need more speed to match up with the Tyreek Hills and Jaylen Waddles of the world.
*Kerby Joseph, Illinois
Joseph had a strong 2021 season earning first-team All-Big-Ten honors. He will need some developmental time, but he projects as a back-end option in a secondary — making him a candidate to sit and learn behind Devin McCourty.