30% of the Patriots draft lies inside the 4th round. Only twice have the New England Patriots obtained more than two picks in the 4th round. Both years resulted in Trey Flowers, Shaq Mason, James White, and Bryan Stork.
Perhaps the team will use one of those 4th rounders to close the gap between pick #46 and #96. But who may interest the Patriots on the final day of the NFL draft?
WR Shi Smith, South Carolina
Smith was a Senior Bowl standout (one of the highest graded participants) while winning the majority of his matchups in practice. He never fumbled in college as he started all four years at South Carolina. With Julian Edelman retired, the slot position needs an infusion of youth; Smith fits the bill when it comes to New England receivers. Smith is a tough, experienced slot receiver who can bring a versatility on returns, out of the backfield, and from the slot.
LB Baron Browning, Ohio State
Browning, 6′ 3″, 245 lbs, displays excellent athleticism for his size. His size is the usual range New England looks for. Combined with Browning’s testing numbers, the team will be intrigued. Browning ran a 4.56 40, with a 6.78 three cone, a 130″ broad jump, and a 40″ vertical. Browning has a special explosiveness at 245 pounds. While he never lived up to his true potential at Ohio State, Bill Belichick uses the mid-round on these types of players. Guys who have all the tools to become starters in the NFL, but never materialized in their college career.
CB Tre Brown, Oklahoma
Tre Brown is a stingy, undersized man-to-man corner who plays very similarly to J.C. Jackson. He plays stronger and more physical than his size suggests as he stood out amongst DBs during the Senior Bowl. He allowed the lowest passer rating in single coverage of his draft class (26.9). Brown also forced the most incompletions of draft eligible DBs (36). Lastly, he led the big-12 last season in pass breakups. J.C. Jackson’s rise to a strong #2 corner came with pass breakups, low passer rating allowed, and forced incompletions, everything Tre Brown does well as a corner.
WR Jaelon Darden: A small school receiver with crazy production out of the slot in his career. Darden accounted for the 4th most yards from the slot since 2019 and is one of the highest graded red-zone Wide Receivers in this years draft class. He also has the highest missed tackle rate paired with Florida Burner, Kadarius Toney.
WR D’Wayne Eskridge: Eskridge has reportedly met with the Patriots multiple times. He has a scary big play ability coming out of college. He averaged 21.8 yards per catch over his last 74 catches, a spot where New England lacked greatly in 2020.
G Ben Cleveland: 0 sacks allowed over the past three seasons, great size for the guard position and Bill Belichick has a strong appreciation for Georgia lineman
Rankings of choices:
- WR Shi Smith
- LB Baron Browning
- WR D’Wayne Eskridge
- DB Tre Brown
- WR Jaelon Darden