The first wave of free agency is officially in the book, which means the NFL Draft is the next big event on the offseason calendar. In just over one month, the Cincinnati Bengals will officially be on the clock, and the dreams of 100’s of collegiate athletes will finally come true. Trying to predict what will happen during the draft requires a lot of luck, as there are so many variables to account for. However, this New England Patriots mock draft takes a look at the players the Patriots could go after when April rolls around.
Note that this Patriots mock draft does not include any trades due to the obvious issues with simultaneously trying to make decisions for two separate teams. Also note that this exercise was performed using the Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator, so all of these players have a decent chance of being on the board when the Patriots are on the clock.
New England Patriots Seven-Round Mock Draft
First Round (23rd Overall) – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Duron Harmon is gone, and Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung aren’t getting any younger. Whether it’s McCourty, Rodney Harrison, or Lawyer Milloy, Bill Belichick’s defenses are always at their best when they have a stud safety shoring up the secondary. Xavier McKinney is going to be the heir to McCourty’s throne in the long run, and his ability to play free safety, in the box, and in the slot ensures that he’ll have a role in the short-term.
Third Round (87th Overall) – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
The Patriots luck out by getting arguably the best tight end in this class with the 87th overall pick. Adam Trautman has serious potential in the passing game, although he still needs to work on getting open against more physical styles of coverage. While he’s nothing special as a run blocker, he should be New England’s best tight end and provide a reliable target for Jarrett Stidham or whoever is under center in Week 1.
Third Round (98th Overall) – Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Unless you know you have an elite quarterback, you should draft one every single year. Jake Fromm doesn’t have a superstar ceiling, but the Georgia product is smart with his reads and knows where the ball should go every time he takes the snap. I’m personally higher on him than most, as I blame most of his underwhelming statistics on poor schemes, bad coaching, and unreliable receivers. He should be better under Josh McDaniels and should be in the mix for the Week 1 starting job.
Third Round (100th Overall) – K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
Julian Edelman isn’t getting any younger, and the Patriots need to find a reliable young target to work the underneath routes. K.J. Hill doesn’t have Edelman’s athleticism, and he probably won’t be a true heir to the throne. That said, he’s the definition of a reliable slot receiver and proved he could handle a big workload while at Ohio State. Grabbing him late in the third round is a no-brainer.
Fourth Round (125th Overall) – Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State
Kenny Willekes isn’t anything special from an athletic standpoint, but he has the motor and drive that Bill Belichick loves. You never see him take a play off, and he’s always pursing the play, no matter where he is in relation to the ball. Even though he’s not that quick or fast, he can typically get to the ball carrier thanks to his above-average instincts and football IQ. While the ceiling might not be too high, he should be able to be a rotational body on defense and chip in on special teams.
Fifth Round (172nd Overall) – Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
Quintez Cephus adds to the depth at wide receiver. The Wisconsin product has a great catch radius and the ability to haul in just about anything thrown in his direction. However, he struggles to get open and is going to need to be schemed into space. Essentially, he’s a poor mans’ N’Keal Harry. However, while Harry is fantastic after the catch, Cephus is nothing more than pedestrian. 2019’s actions indicate that Bill Belichick is looking for bigger, stronger receivers, and Quintez Cephus certainly fits that bill.
Sixth Round (195th Overall) – Mohamed Barry, LB, Nebraska
The Patriots are going to need depth at linebacker after losing Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts to free agency. However, the board never aligned for New England to take a linebacker without passing over a superior talent at another position. Mohamed Barry is no stud, but the Nebraska product could actually play a depth role right out of the gate. He’s similar to Roberts in that he’s a hard-hitting old-school linebacker that makes his living in the middle of the field. He’s solid at going sideline-to-sideline and could be a serviceable third linebacker behind Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley.
Sixth Round, (204th Overall) – Lamar Jackson, CB, Nebraska
The Patriots have plenty of cornerbacks, but this is all about taking the best player available. Lamar Jackson has the ideal size and length for the position, but need a lot of technique refinement before he’s ready to become a true NFL contributor. The Patriots have a long history of making the most out of late-round and undrafted cornerbacks, and Jackson could be New England’s next great reclamation project.
Sixth Round (212th Overall) – Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Georgia
With Stephen Gostkowski out of the picture, somebody is going to have to kick. Rodrigo Blankenship could be the best kicker in the class and is certainly the best kicker left on the board.
Sixth Round (213th Overall) – Trevon Hill, EDGE, Miami
Trevon Hill is too small to be a defensive end and too slow to be a true linebacker. However, he has the athletic profile to come on the field in obvious passing downs as a situational pass-rusher. When you’re picking this late in the draft, that’s all you can ask for.
Seventh Round (230th Overall) – Raequan Williams, IDL, Michigan State
Raequan Williams can do everything at a below-average, but not quite terrible, NFL level. If he makes the roster, it will have to come on special teams. In terms of playing defense, he’s nothing more than an emergency depth piece.
Seventh Round (241st Overall) – Michael Warren II, RB, Cincinnati
Someone has to take carries in the preseason, and it might as well be Michael Warren II. The Patriots have too many running backs as it is, but Warren could carve out a depth spot if injuries strike.
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