This year the Patriots hold 12 picks in the NFL draft. Lots of holes need to be filled. Here is a list of their draft needs ranked, and who they could draft to fulfill each position.
Linebacker: The Patriots lost Collins, Roberts, and most notably- Van Noy in free agency. The only impacting Linebackers on the team currently are- Hightower and Bentley. This should be concerning to Patriots fans because Collins lead the team in tackles last year, followed by Van Noy in fourth. To address this position, Patriots could look to drafting Patrick Queen (LSU) or Kenneth Murray (OU) with their 1st round selection. They are both great at stopping the run, can drop into coverage, and are eye-opening tacklers.
Tight End: This position was nearly non-existent last season. With only Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo on the team post-free agency, Tight End must be addressed in the draft. Cole Kmet (ND) is currently ranked as the most skilled TE in this class. However, he’s not projected to go before the second round. In order to acquire Kmet, the Patriots would need to either trade down from 23 or up into the second round. Brycen Hopkins (PUR) is another notable TE to consider. Hopkins shows elite straight-line speed and high points the ball well. If Kmet and Hopkins can polish up their blocking, they will both be starting in the NFL within two seasons.
Edge: The Patriots’ current edge setters include John Simon, Chase Winovich, Derek Rivers, Shilique Calhoun, and Brandon Copeland. None of which are considered impactful at regularly creating pressure. In the first round, the Patriots could look to drafting AJ Epenesa (IOWA) or Yetur Gross-Matos (PSU). Epenesa is a Trey Flowers mold and despite not showing quickness and burst off the LOS, he could definitely be a player the Patriots like. Gross-Matos shows great athleticism to be an early starter.
Quarterback: Maybe Jarrett Stidham is the guy, maybe not. He hasn’t proved he can be an NFL starter, so if the Patriots like a rookie QB, they will take one in the early rounds. At 23, Jordan Love (UTS) could be a risky pick but if he is able to improve his ball security skills at the next level, he will be an impactful starter. On day two, the team could look into drafting Jacob Eason (WASH), Jake Fromm (GA), or Jalen Hurts (OU).
Kicker: Without a kicker on the roster, the Patriots could commit to someone day 3. Tyler Bass (GSU) and Chase Vinatieri (SDS) could be possible options.
With those major needs addressed, the Patriots will have a plethora of youth on their rebuilding roster.
Photo: Jaydeen Allen/Patriots Wire