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#PostPulpit Mailbag: Breaking down more reader-submitted Patriots mock drafts

Brian Hines explores your mock drafts in this week’s mailbag.

Kentucky v Missouri Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

We are officially less than one week away from the NFL Draft, which means it’s our last chance to break down New England Patriots mock drafts together.

Let’s waste no time and jump into a few in this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag.

The first thing that jumps out to me here is back-to-back Ohio State players. While Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Dawand Jones are good players and obvious fits at positions of need, New England has drafted just one Ohio State player in the Belichick tenure (Nate Ebner, 2012). Could that change with former Buckeye Camren Williams now as the team’s college scouting director? We’ll see.

From there, lots of logical picks here. Tyrique Stevenson is a physical cornerback with plus length and Luke Schoonmaker is one of the best mid-round options at tight end. Nick Saldiveri is a tackle who has moved up boards of late. He’s a good athlete at 6-foot-6, 318 pounds but likely will be gone in the third- or fourth-round.

Beyond that, a punter and versatile fullback who they worked with at the Shrine Bowl — along with Brenton Cox Jr. — are logical fits.

Really interesting draft, Jack. The first two selections are quite different than most mocks. Branch is such a Belichick pick as a multi-year starter for Nick Saban in Alabama that can play all over the back end. And while Jaylin Hyatt gets most of the attention out of the Tennessee receivers, the 6-foot-3, 213 pounds Tillman may be a better fit in New England along the boundary.

The rest of the draft should make fans very happen and seems realistic. Blake Freeland is a big, athletic developmental tackle and DTR gives New England’s quarterback room a different skillset. Riley Moss is extremely explosive athlete (9.90 RAS) who could even fit as safety as well as cornerback.

Rounding it out with two special teamer (who New England worked with at the Shrine Bowl), a reliable back in McIntosh, and a pass rusher who impressed at the Shrine Bowl is a strong finish.

An A+ from PFF is impressive but I can see why they like this draft.

Starting with Levis who New England recently held on a top-30 visit. While it may have just been due diligence, Bill Belichick’s comments (or lack thereof) recently seems to tell he is not fully onboard with Mac Jones, perhaps opening the door for another quarterback.

If one of the top four was to fall, it would likely be Levis. The former Nittany Lion and Wildcat has all the tools in terms of arm talent and mobility teams look for in quarterbacks nowadays. However, he will have to be committed to fixing his footwork to improve his accuracy (helping fuel the Josh Allen comparisons). I was more impressed with Levis than I thought I’d be after watching him but still expect him to be Indianapolis’ selection at No. 4.

Moving on, Anton Harrison would be a home-run pick at 46 if they do not select a tackle in the first-round. He is a prototypical left tackle in terms of size and arm length and piled up plenty of experience at Oklahoma.

Ending with Kraft, the small school tight end already met with New England during the pre-draft process. And according to The Athletic, several schools tried to poach Kraft from South Dakota before the start of last season with significant NIL offers — including the Crimson Tide with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. He should be on our watch lists in that third-round range.

Witherspoon will be a top-three cornerback off the board joining Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. Coming from Bret Bielema’s program, Belichick will have all the intel he needs on him. Witherspoon is sticky in man coverage and always seems to be around the ball. At 5-foot-11, 181 pounds teams may have questions about his role along the perimeter, however.

Iowa’s Jack Campbell fits the typical size mold New England likes at the position at 6-foot-5, 249 pounds. But, unlike most of the thumpers at the position, Campbell has elite range posting a 9.98 relative athletic score. The Patriots seem to like their current linebacking core which could rule out them taking one within the top-150.

Jonathan Mingo has been a popular player being mocked to New England after they hosted the receiver on a top-30 visit. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds he can absolutely fly over the field (4.46 40) and was used inside and out at Ole Miss.

Talk about the Shrine Bowl. Trey Dean, Keondre Coburn, Travis Dye, Jake Moody, and Jack Colletto were all in attendance. I don't mind any of the players as potential fits but Dean in the fourth-round seems a tad high after his poor Combine showing.

Darnell Wright and Julius Brents to lead it off would be a strong start for the Patriots. Two very good players at positions of need.

Henry To’oto’o is an interesting fit for the Patriots. After transferring from Tennessee to Alabama in 2021, he called the Crimson Tide’s defense for Nick Saban. His football IQ is one of his top traits. His size on the other hand (6-1, 227) is not what the Patriots typically lean towards in their off-ball backers and he is not an explosive athlete.

Kuntz is one of the more intriguing players in the entire draft. He played just 15 career collegiate games but he ran a 4.55-second 40 and topped all tight ends at the Combine in the three-cone (6.87) and short shuttle (4.12). Kuntz did that all at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds.

Wilson was a Senior Bowl standout who flashes some impressive quickness for a 6-foot-2, 213 pound receiver. He does not have great straight line speed (4.58 40) and played just 14 games over the last three seasons due to injuries.

Along the D-line, Derick Hall was a three-year starter and team captain for Auburn. He has a strong frame and is a powerful rusher, also setting a physical edge in the run game. The other Texas defensive lineman, who New England also saw at the Shrine Bowl, is Moro Ojomo. He is known for his work in the run game but his length could help him provide some pocket pushing presence at the next level.

That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit! Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well!