Less than 24 hours away from the 2021 NFL Draft; Will Bill Belichick trade up for the Quarterback of the future? Jimmy G reunion in Foxboro? Stay put at 15? Or collect more picks in the later rounds? Only one office knows.
First Round, No. 8 (via Carolina) QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
*TRADE* via Carolina Panthers
Patriots get: 8th overall pick, 155th overall pick
Panthers get: 15th overall pick, CB Stephon Gilmore, 120th pick, 122nd pick, 2022 1st round pick
The Patriots have done the unthinkable and trade up into the top-10 for a QB. For some reason, Fields’ stock has dropped outside of the top-5 and the Patriots should capitalize. One of the most accurate passers in this years draft. A pocket passer with 4.4 speed and tremendous leadership. If the NFL lets New England get their hands on Fields, it could quickly put Foxboro back into banner contention.
Second Round, No. 59 (via Cleveland) DE Payton Turner, Houston
*TRADE* via Cleveland Browns
Patriots get: 59th overall pick, 89th overall pick
Browns get: 46th overall pick, 197th overall pick, 2022nd 5th round pick
Bill Belichick does not like to wait during the draft. Currently, the Patriots have a 50 pick gap between picks #46-96. Cleveland already has the 91st overall pick and jump thirteen spots higher. Turner has a rare combination of size and quickness that New England will like. At 6’5″, 270 pounds, Turner clocked in a 6.70 three cone time. Turner’s length (35-inch arms), power, and quickness could add a missing element this upgraded pass rush.
Third Round, No. 89 (via Cleveland) WR Amari Rodgers, Clemson
The Patriots find their Julian Edelman replacement, but with a different skillset. Rodgers can provide significant production after the catch (3rd Most Yards After Catch in 2020). Rodgers would compliment TE Jonnu Smith very well. Versatility out of the backfield, a threat after the catch, and the ability to catch screen passes.
Third Round, No. 96 RB Michael Carter, North Carolina
The Patriots get a shifty, change of pace back who may not play a lot in year 1. However, when the likes of James White and Rex Burkhead move on, Carter’s time will come. Carter would be a dangerous pair with Damien Harris. He is one of the highest graded receiving backs of this class. Carter holds the most 20+ yard runs over the last two seasons. His short shuttle time was one of the best of any pro day.
Fourth Round, No. 139 T Brady Christensen, BYU
The Patriots avoid temptation of spending a high end pick on this deep tackle class. Christensen perhaps is one of the more quiet prospects of the group. He had a 90 grade in both run and pass, gave up one sack in 2020, and runs a 4.89. The three year starter would fill a potential long term need at the tackle position.
Fifth Round, No. 177 LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue
The Patriots take another 5th round Linebacker out of Purdue. Barnes runs a 4.57 at 238 pounds with off and on-ball versatility. A senior bowl standout with special teams ability will greatly intrigue the Patriots on day 3.
Sixth Round, No. 188 WR Shi Smith, South Carolina
New England gets another shot at the slot receiver pool in this years draft. Smith is a quick, tough player that the Patriots look for at the receiver position. Smith shined on 1v1s at the Senior Bowl, consistently winning his matchups.
Seventh Round, No. 242 K Jose Borregales, Miami
Belichick watched Borregales at his pro day and takes the highest graded kicker of 2020. Borregales was one of the most accurate kickers in college football (100% on extra points). He even bombed a 57 yarder this year.