Before the Patriots selected Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche in the 2020 draft, the 2nd round was a place of nothing but failure for New Englanders. For instance, the names of Joejuan Williams, Duke Dawson, Cyrus Jones, and Jordan Richards have haunted Patriots fans.
Williams is the only one currently on the team, but it seems as though he has little purpose in Foxboro. Dugger however looks to break the cursed streak of 2nd round defensive back busts.
Let’s talk about Dugger for a second. He finished 5th among the team in tackles (64) while only playing 51% of snaps in 2020. Now imagine what those numbers will look like in the 70-80% snap range? So let’s feel good about ending that DB bust streak and look to other positions of need in round 2.
WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
Aaron Dobson, Chad Jackson, and Bethel Johnson are the only 2nd round receivers taken after Pats legend Deion Branch. None of those names blossomed into competent NFL receivers, but this draft class is a different breed. Perhaps Elijah Moore can become the next quick, undersized slot machine for years to come in Foxboro. Bill Belichick already knows the feeling of passing on not one, but TWO Ole Miss beasts.
Let’s start with Moore’s athleticism. Although these pro-days are super inflated, it still can roughly offer insight into these player’s athletic profiles. Moore clocked in at a 4.35 40 and 6.66 three cone shuffle. Let’s say that 40 time is more a ~4.49 and the three cone is ~6.71, those are still elite speed and quickness numbers for a slot receiver. If you watch Moore’s tape, his speed and quickness numbers check:
- 1st in the SEC with most missed tackles forced after the catch (15)
- Had a step or more of separation on 90% of his targets in 2020
- 3rd highest graded SEC WR season (91.2)
- 2nd highest-graded WR vs ranked opponents (89)
- 190 catches, zero fumbles, ZERO
- Most receiving yards from the slot since 2019 (1,738)
- T-3rd among 2021 draft class in contested catches over the past 2 seasons (20)
WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson
Most scouts have a 3rd/4th round grade on Amari Rodgers, but in the right offense, Rodgers is well worth a 2nd round pick. Looking at how the 49ers utilize Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, the Patriots should be in the business of adding a YAC guy with versatility after the backfield.
Bill Belichick did address this need with the addition of Jonnu Smith, but having this at the receiver position would benefit Josh McDaniels’ offense greatly. For Clemson, Rodgers was a YAC machine:
- Most yards after contact among power five WRs (204)
- 3rd Most Yards After Catch in 2020 (613)
- 3rd Most YAC off screens in 2020 (327)
- Most missed tackles forced on screens in 2020 (Power Five)
- Most yards and catches from the slot in 2020 among power five WRs
Not all NFL teams value the slot position, the New England Patriots are not one of those teams. Rodgers is one this year’s best slot and YAC prospect and could give the Patriots dire flexibility at the Wide Receiver position.
LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Davis has been shooting up draft boards since his pro day. At 6’3”, 234 LBs, Davis ran a 4.37 40 and recorded a 42” vertical jump and 11” broad jump. For reference, Jamie Collins (6’3”, 250 LBs) ran a 4.64 40 with a 41.5” vertical jump and 11.7” broad jump. Davis’ instincts and vision, combined with his freakish athleticism are quickly opening the eyes of the NFL.
Best of The Rest
ED Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
A little small for New England edge rushers, but Perkins was an incredibly productive player. The highest graded Big-12 defender this season, Perkins was the only defensive player with a 90 grade in run and pass rush.
LB Jabril Cox, LSU
Bill Belichick may fall in love with Jabril if he gets the chance to talk to him. A great work ethic, really humble guy who plays New England tough. Cox was one of the best coverage linebackers in college football. Cox would fit well addressing the need of the modern day linebacker who can cover
DT Alim McNeill, NC State
One of the best run defenders in the country in 2020.
OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
The first round tackles to come out of Notre Dame since 2014: Zack Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Mike McGlinchey. He had the most amount of pass-block snaps without a sack in 2020. In a deep tackle class, Eichenberg can fall as a day 2 pick, but still be able to start in the NFL right away with his strength and college production.
S Richie Grant, UCF
Grant popped at this year’s Senior Bowl. He was the highest graded run defender in 2020, displaying strong ball skills and versatility in the secondary. Grant had one of the lowest missed tackle% in college football and could thrive learning under Devin McCourty.
Ranking of Options:
- WR Elijah Moore
- WR Amari Rodgers
- LB Jamin Davis
- LB Jabril Cox
- T Liam Eichenberg