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Mock draft: Former NFL general manager projects Patriots to draft a cornerback in Round 1

Related: Ryan Spagnoli’s 7-round mock draft 3.0: Patriots add even more versatility to their secondary

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

Even after signing Malcolm Butler and Terrance Mitchell in free agency, the New England Patriots need help at cornerback. They might find some in the draft: this year’s class features some intriguing talent at the position, and the Patriots going after a corner in Round 1 would not be a surprise.

Among those who think that this is the way the team will ultimately go is a former NFL general manager. Mike Tannenbaum, who was the New York Jets’ GM between 2006 and 2012 and drafted, among other players, former All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis, has his former division rivals pick Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. at 21 overall in a new mock draft at ESPN.

21. New England Patriots

Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Just two years ago, the Patriots had J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore in their cornerbacks room. Now they are starting Malcolm Butler and Jalen Mills on the outside. Booth has great quickness, scheme flexibility and the ability to play all over. And why Booth over LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr.? Stingley has played only 10 games over the past two seasons, and his production over that time left a lot to be desired. That’s concerning, and I’m leaning toward Booth, because I know what I’m getting from him.

Booth Jr. is one of the better prospects available and therefore a realistic target for New England. While his medical status is a minor red flag — he recently underwent sports hernia surgery — the 21-year-old would be a good fit due to his combination of top-notch athleticism and an ability to play press-man coverage at a high level.