The New England Patriots will have just five picks in this year’s NFL draft, barring a trade for another pick or the team selling a pick. Using TheDraftNetwork.com, a brilliant site that lets you pick for whatever team(s) you want while simulating the other team’s picks, we made our first Patriots mock draft.
More mocks are to come from both myself and Nick Caruso.
Round 1, Pick No. 21: Utah LB Devin Lloyd
Devin Lloyd, the versatile linebacker, chose to use his extra year of eligibility in 2021 despite the fact that he had the tape and skill to get drafted last year. The linebacker played 129 snaps as an edge rusher and 702 in the box as a regular linebacker this season, also being a finalist for the Butkus Award for his second straight year.
Lloyd had by far the best season of his four-year Utah career, posting seven sacks, four interceptions, two pick-sixes, 111 tackles — 22 for a loss, and 31 pressures, earning himself a Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Lloyd finished his Ute career with 65 pressures, 15.5 sacks, 256 total tackles (150 solos), 43 tackles for a loss, eight passes defended, five interceptions, and three defensive touchdowns.
This draft class is rather linebacker-heavy, and with the run defense still being an issue for New England, it’d be stunning to see the Patriots not take a linebacker within the first three rounds.
Round 2, Pick No. 54: Alabama WR John Metchie III
Metchie saw a strong season at Alabama this year after breaking onto the season in 2020 and having an impressive 2021 season despite Jameson Williams — a guy Mel Kiper Jr. had the Patriots taking in the first round in his mock draft — outplaying him. Metchie caught 96 passes for 1,142 yards, tallying eight touchdowns.
However, his ACL injury might raise concerns. The receiver reportedly is on track for a “quick recovery” though with it being a “clean tear,” and that there should not be too harmful to his draft stock.
Metchie is the fourth Alabama junior to enter his name into the draft. The Patriots don’t have much talent at receiver currently, and they could use a receiver that has the Nick Saban-Bill Belichick connection.
Round 3, Pick No. 85: Wyoming LB Chad Muma
Adding to the Patriots’ struggling run defense should be a focus in this year’s draft with the pool of linebackers available. Adding a pair of versatile linebackers would be a tremendous boost.
Muma, a safety-turned-linebacker, has the ability to play all three linebacker spots and has been a three-year starter for Wyoming (21 games). He had 142 tackles this season, making 1.5 sacks and three interceptions, taking two back for a touchdown.
Through the 6-foot-3 linebacker’s career, Muma has 266 tackles (19 for a loss), 5.5 sacks, three picks, and two touchdowns.
Round 4, Pick No. 123: Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant
The five-year senior out of Cincinnati, Coby Bryant, tallied three interceptions this season and had 44 tackles (34 solo), also forcing two fumbles.
How the Patriots plan to draft cornerbacks highly depends on what they plan to do with unrestricted free agent J.C. Jackson, who should be expecting a payday regardless of what team he goes to. The Patriots definitely need to draft a corner, and one also might not be enough.
Bryant has an interesting story with the name Coby, as according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he was named after the late Kobe Bryant. But, they changed the spelling of his name so that he could “carve out his own legacy.” He changed his number to 8 in 2021 because of Kobe.
Round 6, Pick No. 209: USC S Isaiah Pola-Mao
Pola-Mao, the 6-foot-4 redshirt senior, is another versatile asset on defense that could see himself landed on Day 2 of the draft (rounds 2-3). The safety has seen reps at both single-high and split-field safety.
The Trojan registered 57 tackles (41 solo) this season, not getting a single interception despite one last year and four in 2019. Despite that, he does have strong tape and could be a solid late-round option for New England. The Patriots could use a safety with Devin McCourty only getting older, and they might even plan on not bringing back the 11-year captain.