The NFL’s 2022 draft is officially in the books, but the team-building process is just getting started. Over the next few hours and days, teams will start filling out the rest of their 90-man offseason rosters with undrafted free agents and there are still plenty of quality players available.
As a look at the consensus big board created by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan shows, some big names did not hear their names called over the last three days and the draft’s seven rounds. A few of those players might eventually even find their way to the New England Patriots, so let’s take a look at the 50 most intriguing among them.
QB Carson Strong (Nevada), Jack Coan (Notre Dame), Kaleb Eleby (Western Michigan)
The Patriots made a surprising decision when they selected Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. With Zappe now joining a quarterback room consisting of starter Mac Jones as well as backups Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, the team has no real need to add any of the top UDFA quarterbacks.
Abram Smith (Baylor), D’Vonte Price (Florida International), Kennedy Brooks (Oklahoma), Tyler Goodson (Iowa), Zonovan Knight (N.C. State), Jerrion Ealy (Mississippi), ZaQuandre White (Southern Carolina), Sincere McCormick (UTSA)
New England invested in two running backs in the draft, picking Pierre Strong in the fourth round and later adding Kevin Harris in the sixth. The position group is a deep one with those two added to the equation, and it would be a surprise if even more players would be brought in through free agency.
WR Justyn Ross (Clemson), Kevin Austin Jr. (Notre Dame), Charleston Rambo (Miami), Tre Turner (Virginia Tech), Makai Polk (Mississipi State), Dontario Drummond (Mississippi), Isaiah Weston (Northern Iowa), Reggie Robertson (SMU)
While Tyquan Thornton was added in the second round, and N’Keal Harry not traded just yet, the Patriots could be in the market for additional depth at the position. New England being active and adding more options to the. position would not be a surprise.
Jalen Wydermyer (Texas A&M), Austin Allen (Nebraska)
The Patriots’ tight end group is set in stone, but additional bodies being added in rookie free agency could happen. Neither Devin Asiasi nor Dalton Keene should be considered a lock to make the roster at this point.
Kellen Diesch (Arizona State), Dare Rosenthal (Kentucky), Obinna Eze (TCU)
While seventh-round selection Andrew Stueber has some experience playing tackle, the Patriots should still be in the market for more depth at the position. Them adding at least one UDFA at the position is an option.
Interior offensive line
Donovan West (Arizona State), Alec Lindstrom (Boston College)
All three of the offensive linemen that were drafted by the Patriots project to play primarily on the interior. The team might add more bodies to the equation, but it seems unlikely at this point given the recent investments.
Interior defensive line
Haskell Garrett (Ohio State), Jaylden Peevy (Texas A&M), Christopher Hinton (Michigan), Noah Elliss (Idaho)
Even with Carl Davis returning on a one-year contract, the depth at defensive tackle could be approved upon. The nose spot in particular is an area of concern, with the team not having any suitable big-bodied options at the position currently under contract.
Christopher Allen (Alabama), Sterling Weatherford (Miami), Jeremiah Moon (Florida)
With just three true edges on the team at the moment — Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, Ronnie Perkins — the Patriots could look to rookie free agency to bolster the group. Obviously no UDFA should be expected to earn a spot on the roster, but adding to the depth makes sense.
JoJo Dormann (Nebraska), Mike Rose (Iowa State), Jack Sanborn (Wisconsin), Aaron Hansford (Texas A&M), Zakoby McLain (Auburn), Jeremiah Gemmel (North Carolina)
The Patriots were expected to draft a linebacker maybe as early as the first round. Instead, they did no such thing and left the position group unattended altogether. Needless to say that adding at least one rookie free agent would make sense.
Josh Jobe (Alabama), Mario Goodrich (Clemson), Mykael Wright (Oregon), Vincent Grey (Michigan), Josh Thompson (Texas)
New England double-dibbed at the cornerback position, drafting Marcus Jones in the third round and Jack Jones in the fourth. Still, the team’s history at finding undrafted gems at the position is significant and it would not be a surprise if more potential candidates werer added
Verone McKinley III (Oregon), Smoke Monday (Auburn), Yusuf Corker (Kentucky), Leon O’Neal Jr. (Texas A&M), Markquese Bell (Florida AM), Bubba Bolden (Miami), Juanyeh Thomas (Georgia Tech)
The Patriots did not draft any safeties over the last three days. The position group as a whole is rather deep, though, so there is no immediate need to bolster it.
Best of the rest: Slade Bolden (Alabama), Jaivon Heiligh (Coastal Carolina), DE David Anenih (Houston), DT Marquan McCall (Kentucky), LB Diego Fagot (Navy), QB E.J. Perry (Brown), OT Tyler Vrabel (Boston College), Josh Johnson (Tulsa),