The third round can become a round of gems for many NFL teams. Not for last year’s Patriots, who spent two third round picks on two tight ends who have been replaced.

This year’s third round could be a round of running back steals. James White is on a one year deal, Rex Burkhead is coming off a torn ACL, and Sony Michel’s fifth year option is approaching. The only two reliable backs for the future of Foxboro are Damien Harris and JJ Taylor.

A couple of 3rd round running back gems include: David Montgomery, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, James Conner, and Kenyan Drake. Which one could be in this year’s 2021 draft?

RB/WR Demetric Felton, UCLA

It seems as though the NFL world has already labeled Felton as a Wide Receiver, fluctuating his draft stock. However, scouts tried to do the same thing with Antonio Gibson last year.

Felton is a back who can add a very intriguing versatility in Josh McDaniel’s offense. Felton looked like the best route-runner at the Senior-Bowl. What’s intriguing about Felton is he did handle a bell cow role at UCLA and became an incredible reliable weapon.

  • No Pac-12 RB shed more tackles on the ground and after the catch than Felton (42)
  • 332 touches, 2 fumbles
  • 29 gains of 10+ yards (led all RB of Pac-12)

QB Davis Mills, Stanford

Davis Mills is a very interesting prospect due his lack of starts in college (11 starts). But in those 11 starts, Mills accumulated 3,353 passings yards (304 per game), 18 Touchdowns, 10 Ints.

His adjusted completion percentage was top-10 in the country (78.8%). Mills had a 2.39 second average time to throw on non-screens, RPOs, and play action (4th in nation). If that quick decision making can translate to the next level, we may have another promising arm come training camp.

RB Michael Carter, North Carolina

Overshadowed by teammate Javonte Williams in this year’s draft, Carter can provide a similar impact at a better value. Carter is the better receiver of the backfield and his shiftiness made him nearly impossible to bring down at North Carolina. What Patriots fans love in James White, they will love in Michael Carter; his dual threat ability, willingness to block, and his performance at this year’s Senior Bowl set himself apart of all other backs who participated.
  • T-4th most runs with 10+ yards after contact since 2019
  • 29 runs of 20+ yards over the last two seasons (more than any back in college football)
  • 2nd in Yards after contact per attempt (4.47)
  • 2nd highest receiving among 2021 RB prospects (88.6)
  • Best 4 short shuttle time at pro day (3.98)

Other Options:

WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State

Terrific at the catch point (2nd most contested catches in college football since 2019) Wallace is a see ball get ball type of player. Patriots fans may worry about a contested catch specialist again, But Wallace is a far better route runner than N’Keal Harry and will not have to live up to 1st round expectations. He did not drop a single pass with a step or more of separation in 2020 (60 targets). Wallace is as tough as they get when it comes to this Receiver class and he may be one of the draft’s best kept secret.

T Brady Christensen, BYU

Christensen has been wildly slept on in this deep tackle class. Had a 90 grade in both run+pass, gave up one sack in 2020, runs a 4.89, 3 year starter. Tackle is a long term need and a mid round selection on a tackle with upside may interest the Patriots.

Rankings:

  1. RB Michael Carter
  2. RB Demetric Felton
  3. QB Davis Mills
  4. T Brady Christensen
  5. WR Tylan Wallace

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