2021 Patriots mock draft: Addressing major needs, including QB, in the top 4 rounds – Patriots Wire

The New England Patriots’ roster, as it is currently constructed, has a few spots that look deep. The offensive line and the secondary, for example, seem well-equipped for 2021 and beyond. But then there are positions where New England has seemed deeply undermanned: tight end, quarterback, receiver and inside linebacker. Bill Belichick has said he doesn’t draft for need. But this is one of those years where it might be smart to find plug-and-play rookies at those positions. With all the cap space the Patriots have, they could pair the rookies with veterans to help in the event of slow development.

Here’s our first four-round mock draft. (We didn’t go seven rounds, because we’re not familiar enough with this draft class to bother diving that deeply.) Let’s dive in.

First round, pick 15: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

The Patriots get Trey Lance, the fourth quarterback off the board after Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson. Bill Belichick takes one of the most physically gifted quarterback prospects in the draft — even if his undeveloped.

The first time I ran this mock draft, I ended up with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts in the first round and Georgia quarterback Jamie Newmann in the third round. It didn’t feel like the proper allocation of resources. But there’s plenty of time to explore that route in the coming weeks.

Second round, pick 16: Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips

The Patriots get a physically gifted athlete, who should be able to develop into a three-down defensive end. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he’s big enough to play the edge spot in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. He finished the 2020 season with eight sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, one interception and 45 tackles.

Another player on the board that I thought might interest Belichick: Florida State defensive lineman Marvin Wilson, a stout defender who can help clog rushing lanes with some upside as a pass-rusher.

Third round, pick 33: Ole Miss WR Ejijah Moore

There’s some early dissent upon where Moore might land. Could he shoot all the way up to the first round? Could he land in the third or fourth round? Obviously, the draft picture is hardly in focus in December. But there’s a lot to like about Moore, who managed 86 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. So what’s not to like? Well, he’s small: 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds. That’s a physique like Antonio Brown. It’s possible to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL with that body type. But you can’t always draft for body type. (See: N’Keal Harry.)

Moore would bring a more-dynamic presence to the spot that Damiere Byrd, who is a free agent in 2021, currently occupies.

Fourth round, pick 16: ASU LB Merlin Robertson

The Patriots would ask Robertson to play inside, a spot that needs some speed and versatility after we saw troubling tackling issues from Ja’Whaun Bentley and Terez Hall. Eventually, Robertson might demonstrate the ability to move to the edge, where might rush the passer — not unlike the progression we saw from Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. Robertson is lighter than that bunch, however. He’s 6-foot-3, 250 pounds,

Fourth round, pick 33: Georgia center Ben Cleveland

The Patriots need to begin thinking about how they might replace center David Andrews. He’s set to enter free agency, but I don’t think they’ll let him get away. He’s probably coming back. Even so, they’ll want a better insurance policy behind him than they have now in James Ferentz.

Fourth round, pick 39: BYU TE Matt Bushman

It’s probably smart for New England to make a big investment in their tight end position in free agency. If they did that, they’d have someone like Jared Cook to join second-year tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene with Bushman joining. That’s a big group. But if Keene figures to play more fullback in 2021, then it could work.

Bushman enjoyed a huge season, thanks largely to the breakout season from quarterback Zach Wilson. Bushman had 47 receptions for 688 yards and four touchdowns.

Source

Related posts