With the first wave of free agency in the books, it’s time to start looking forward to the 2020 NFL Draft. Free agency changes the needs of teams across the leagues, which obviously goes on to impact the NFL Draft. Analysts across the country are doing their best to break down these updated needs to give the clearest picture possible as to what to expect in a months’ time. Without further ado, here is a New England Patriots mock draft roundup from all across the internet.
New England Patriots Mock Draft Roundup: Nobody Knows What Bill Belichick Will Do
The Patriots had one of the best defenses in football last year, but it was built upon an older, veteran core. New England needs to get younger at linebacker, especially considering the fact that Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins have both left for greener pastures. Not only can Patrick Queen be a short-term fix to losing Van Noy and Collins, but he has the skill set to develop into the eventual heir to Dont’a Hightower.
Xavier McKinney [Scouting Report]
Duron Harmon is gone, and Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung aren’t getting any younger. For the vast majority of New England’s two-decade run of dominance, the Patriots have had at least one elite player at the safety position. McKinney has the chance to be the next guy after McCourty, and his ability to play in the box, in the slot, and over the top ensures that he’ll have a role right out of the gate.
Jordan Love [Scouting Report]
In case you live under a rock, Tom Brady is no longer a member of the New England Patriots. The greatest quarterback of all-time has officially left the building, and Jarrett Stidham is currently atop the depth chart. Adding a quarterback makes sense, and Love has a reasonably high ceiling. The Utah State product can make just about any throw imaginable, but he also is responsible for some of the most head-scratching decisions you’ll ever see. If Belichick thinks he can coach away the bad decisions, then this could be a great value move.
A.J. Epenesa [Scouting Report]
Edge defender A.J. Epenesa is never going to be a 15-sack guy, but he’s a classic Bill Belichick type of player. The Iowa product is stout against both the run and the pass, knows how to set the edge, and isn’t afraid to eat up blockers and free up others to make the big play. In many ways, he’s a lot like former New England Patriots edge rusher Trey Flowers. Epenesa had a terrible day at the NFL Combine, but his film shows an athletic player that can succeed at the NFL level.
This is a three-round mock, so Sports Illustrated also has the Patriots going after linebacker Logan Wilson, wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, and interior offensive lineman Jonah Jackson with their three third-round selections. Wilson could be a rotational linebacker right out of the gate, while Peoples-Jones could compete with N’Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu for starting reps on offense. Jackson is buried on the bench but could fight to start if David Andrews isn’t fully recovered from his blood clots.
Grant Delpit [Scouting Report]
Grant Delpit and Xavier McKinney are universally accepted as the two best safeties in the 2020 NFL Draft class. While McKinney is the safer bet, Delpit carries the marginally higher ceiling. The Patriots aren’t afraid to take risks with elite talents, and Delpit certainly has the raw skills to be a star in New England’s secondary for years to come.
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