The NFL Draft is only 10 days away, and, at this point, the draft takes are FLYING. With that in mind, I decided to have some fun with this latest New England Patriots seven-round mock draft. There might be questions about some of the players in this one, but I think generally people are going to like it.
Just a quick note before we get started: Based off a great suggestion on my last mock, I have included three other players who were on the board at every pick, so you can see who I passed up to make my pick.
Pat Lane’s seven-round mock draft Version 1.0 | Version 2.0 | Version 3.0 | Version 4.0 | Version 5.0
TRADE: Patriots trade 1-14 to Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 1-19, 3-82, and a 2024 5th-rounder: The Patriots move back five spots, while the Buccaneers move up to grab Will Levis before someone else does. | Players on the board at 1-14: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR Jordan Addison, CB Joey Porter Jr.
1-19: EDGE Nolan Smith (Georgia) : Smith is a smart player who oftentimes sacrificed individual statistics for team success. He absolutely blew up the Scouting Combine with his freak athleticism, was incredibly coachable and a staff favorite, and was a fixture on special teams in Athens. It’s almost like he was born to be a Patriot. | Players on the board at 1-19: WR Jordan Addison, RB Bijan Robinson, CB Deonte Banks
Been saying ED is a sneaky area of need (#4 on my priority list), and Nolan Smith is the kind of toolsy tweener the Patriots could maxime— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) April 6, 2023
Raw pass rusher and plays more of an attacking style than NE usually features, but he's a long, tough athlete who excels vs the run https://t.co/4yCBETg9WV pic.twitter.com/hlS4slWAbA
TRADE: Patriots trade 2-46, 4-107, 4-135, and a 2024 5th-rounder to Pittsburgh Steelers for 2-32: The Patriots have three fourth-round picks, and picked up an extra selection in next year’s draft through their trade on Day 1. They can use some of that capital to move up early on Day 2 to get a player most people assumed would be a first-round pick.
2-32: WR Zay Flowers (Boston College): The Patriots are missing something on offense. They have a decent group of wide receivers, but they don’t have anyone who fits the prototypical slot mold that has historically been a crucial part of their offense. Bill O’Brien, in particular, has used this type of player well, and he could have a ton of fun with Flowers. Yes, they have JuJu Smith-Schuster, but Flowers is a different player, even if they are both best on the interior. Adding that kind of speed and quickness will make the Patriots offense significantly more explosive, and this has the chance to be a home run selection. | Players on the board at 2-32: TE Michael Mayer, CB Emmanuel Forbes, TE Darnell Washington
One detail stood out when watching Jaxon Smith-Njigba vs. Zay Flowers— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) April 11, 2023
How they attack Yards After the Catch
One rolls with momentum. The other squares up.
No one better to ask 'why?' than Steve Smith Sr.
Loved the answer pic.twitter.com/PrUXSLPBv9
3-76: OT Nick Saldiveri (Old Dominion): Saldiveri may not be the first name that people think of when they think of offensive tackle prospects, but I think he would be a perfect fit for the Patriots. He plays with a good amount of athleticism, and, while he may not blow you away, he’s pretty consistent as well. This line from a scouting report may sum up my feelings best: “Solid all-around prospect, but he’s not elite in any one area.” If that doesn’t sound like a Patriots player, then I don’t know what does. | Players on the board at 3-76: RB Tyjae Spears, CB Julius Brents, S Antonio Johnson
Late to the party on Old Dominion OT Nick Saldiveri (RT, no. 64). But he is a very advanced pass protector with great range/foot speed, balance, strong hand usage, and is a sound positional run blocker.— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 12, 2023
Would expect Saldiveri to be a late third, early fourth-rounder. pic.twitter.com/WuWMP4ADNw
3-82: CB Cory Trice (Purdue): Trice is a bigger corner at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, and is a very solid tackler. The Patriots are in need of a guy with some size on the outside, and the 22-year-old will be able to provide them with that. He’s not the most physical player in the draft, but he plays with enough to get by. Surprisingly agile for a player his size, as his 3-cone (6.70s) and broad jump numbers (11’0”) were extremely impressive. He fits a need for the Patriots, so they don’t waste the chance to take him at 82. | Players on the board at 3-82: RB Tyjae Spears, WR Rashee Rice, S Jordan Battle
Cory Trice / CB / #23— The Podfather (@TheBurgundyZone) April 11, 2023
6’3 / 215lbs / Senior
Here is Cory in Press Man on a Slant Route. Notice the powerful punch to get the WR off balance and then the on time punch when the ball arrives to get the incompletion! #HTTC #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/EkPuSqPaKN
4-117: S Marte Mapu (Sacramento State:) Mapu is quite similar to a few players already on the Patriots. Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, and Jabrill Peppers are that same kind of hybrid safety/linebacker that Mapu is. Why would they want him then? Because, without super athletic players at linebacker perhaps they will just use safeties instead. He suffered a torn pec while training for the Scouting Combine, so he wasn’t able to do any drills at his Pro Day, but his Senior Bowl performance was impressive enough to make him a fourth-round pick. The Patriots love this type of player on their defense, and getting another one will be good insurance in case one of them gets hurt or if they don’t end up signing Kyle Dugger to an extension. | Players on the board at 4-117: S Ronnie Hickman, LB Mohamoud Diabate, EDGE K.J. Henry
Who will be highest drafted snub from this week’s #NFLCombine?— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 26, 2023
Polled NFL scouts and most common reply was Sacramento State SS/WLB Marte Mapu.
Majority of 30-35 Combine omits each year are late-rounders but there’s buzz Mapu could be rare Day 2 riser.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/eHQE0iibat
6-184: G McClendon Curtis (Chattanooga): Another guard from Chattanooga! How could you not love that? Standing at 6-foot-6, 324 pounds, Curtis shows a mean streak on the field and is the perfect guy to be the third guard and back up both Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu (even though he’s certainly closer to Onwenu in playing style). He’s best suited at guard and played the position in 2020 and 2021, but also played left tackle last year, so he brings some position flexibility. Getting a guy like this in the sixth round is a solid acquisition for the Patriots. Also, he is the second half of my favorite draft anomaly, which is Warren McClendon and McClendon Curtis both being offensive line prospects this year. | Players on the board at 6-184: WR Charlie Jones, RB Israel Abanikanda, LB Owen Pappoe
222 | Chattanooga OT/OG McClendon Curtis— (@TheSFNiners) April 13, 2023
Position versatility makes this a great value here. Gives me some Laken Tomlinson vibes. pic.twitter.com/YMZ6MFXVFl
6-187: LB Shaka Heyward (Duke): Heyward is a linebacker that can move. Some of his testing numbers weren’t quite as good as one would expect, which will push him down the draft board, but you can see the athleticism all over his film. The Patriots are still looking for a sub backer, and Heyward is a late-round guy who has a chance to develop into that type of player. He obviously is far from a sure thing, but taking a chance on someone like him this late in the draft is a no-brainer. | Players on the board at 6-187: RB Evan Hull, QB Aidan O’Connell, OL Jarrett Patterson
Duke's Shaka Heyward is such a unique LB. Won't fit the mold for everyone, but gets the job done on three downs. pic.twitter.com/7X7C9Ei05c— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) March 23, 2023
6-192: OT Jake Witt (Northern Michigan): Witt is a small-school prospect who put on a show at his Pro Day. He measures in at 6-foot-7 and 302 pounds, with 33.5-inch arms. He ran a 4.89-second 40-yard dash, and did a 37-inch vertical jump. His game needs a little bit of polish, and he played against a lower class of opponents, but there is definitely talent there, and the Patriots could try to mold him into a solid backup or even a guy that could start if needed. | Players on the board at 6-192: WR Ronnie Bell, TE Will Mallory, OL Ricky Stromberg
#NorthernMichigan LT Jake Witt has just 14 games playing OT but his upside and natural athleticism are evident.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) March 23, 2023
Technique, snap to snap consistency a work in progress, but has impressive recovery ability in pass pro. Had some nice reps vs highly touted pass rusher Caleb Murphy. pic.twitter.com/rzxaKv9Hd8
6-210: TE Noah Gindorff (North Dakota State): Gindorff is also coming from a smaller school, but his measurements look like a player that can have an impact down the line. He is 6-foot-6 and weighs in at 263 pounds. He has a nagging ankle injury, which prevented him from coming out last season, and is still keeping him from doing any pre-draft drills, even after two surgeries. The Patriots, however, have never been shy about taking a guy with some serious injury history. If Gindorff can get healthy, he should be able to give them some blocking and receiving upside. This late in the draft, I think it’s a chance worth taking. | Players on the board at 6-210: EDGE Brenton Cox Jr., LB Aubrey Miller Jr., TE Brenton Strange
Noah Gindorff, bowling ball pic.twitter.com/8fT8m7B2rs— Jake Schyvinck (@JakeNFLDraft) March 30, 2023
7-245: CB Art Green (Houston): Green is an interesting cornerback prospect this season. Standing at 6-foot-1 and just a shade under 200 pounds, he is a physical player in the run game who also ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, to go along with a 4.26-second 20-yard shuttle. There is a chance that his best position in the NFL is going to be safety, because of his willingness to help in the run game, and some questions about his click-and-close ability on the boundary. As with other players in this mock, however, it is a risk that I’m willing to take this late in the draft. You want physical guys who are fast, and that’s exactly what Green is. Those guys relish the opportunity to play on special teams, and we know how much the Patriots value that in their draft picks as well. | Players on the board at 7-245: CB Alex Austin, WR Jadakis Bonds, WR Demario Douglas
What an interception by Houston’s Art Green, gets in front of the route and snags the ball out of the sky #CollegeFootball | #GoCoogs— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 10, 2022
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So that’s it. I said, there are some players with question marks attached to their names but a whole bunch of upside. Please rate the mock below, and let us know what you think in the comments!
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