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NFL 2022 mock draft: Todd McShay thinks the Patriots will add a cornerback in the first round

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Washington State v Washington Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The cornerback position is near the top of the New England Patriots’ list of needs this offseason. Even if free-agent-to-be J.C. Jackson is retained, the depth behind him and fellow starters Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones needs to be addressed.

Enter Washington’s Kyler Gordon, one of the top corners in this year’s draft and a target ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay thinks will target in late April. McShay has the team pick Gordon 21st overall in his latest mock draft.

21. New England Patriots

Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington

The Patriots were second in passing yards allowed per game (187.1), tied for second in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.4) and second in interceptions (23). And they were one of three teams to keep opponents under 60% completion percentage. But the back seven could lose several starters to free agency, including cornerback J.C. Jackson, safety Devin McCourty and linebacker D’onta [sic] Hightower. It could also use an influx of speed in that area, of which Gordon has a ton. His versatility and ability to jump routes would also be welcome on one of the league’s top defenses — and he’d make the potential loss of Jackson a little easier to handle.

The Patriots’ lack of quality cornerback depth was on full display in the divisional playoff round versus the Buffalo Bills. With Jalen Mills absent on the Covid-19 reserve list, the team had to rely on a mix of Joejuan Williams, D’Angelo Ross and Justin Bethel to get the job done opposite CB1 J.C. Jackson. They couldn’t.

While Mills and slot cornerback Jonathan Jones — who missed the majority of 2021 on injured reserve — are both set to return, the rest of the position group is not. Even if pending free agent Jackson is kept, adding a player like Gordon early in the draft makes sense.