There’s still another day before the 2017 NFL year officially begins and free agency opens, so let’s dive into our first seven-round New England Patriots mock draft of the offseason.
We’ll know the Patriots’ offseason needs better after the first few days of free agency, but based on how the team currently is constructed, here’s one look at how the draft could shake out for New England.
Round 1, 32nd Overall Pick: LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
Watt could fill a similar role to the one left open when Jamie Collins was traded to the Cleveland Browns. J.J.’s brother mostly was used as a pass rusher at Wisconsin but has the athleticism to play standing up and drop back into coverage.
Round 2, 64th Overall Pick: S Marcus Williams, Utah
If we’re being honest with ourselves here, the Patriots will probably draft a safety that no one has heard of at the end of the second round. Williams would make sense, however, especially if Duron Harmon leaves in free agency. The Patriots will need another safety who can play deep and keep allowing Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung to take on versatile roles.
Round 3, 96th Overall Pick: TE Jake Butt, Michigan
Butt’s been cast to the background after a knee injury kept him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine. That could make him a steal in what might be the most athletic tight end class in draft history. He’s a complete tight end with good size who is coming from a pro-style offense.
Round 3, 103rd Overall Pick: DE Trey Hendrickson, Florida Atlantic
Hendrickson saw his draft stock rise after the NFL Scouting Combine. He also was Pro Football Focus’ most prolific edge rusher in 2016 based on their pass-rush productivity rating.
Round 4, 137th Overall Pick: RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo
Hunt fumbled just once in college and meets the Patriots’ size, speed and explosion standards. The Patriots will have to wait until March 20 at Hunt’s pro day to see if he hits their agility scores.
Round 5, 163rd Overall Pick: DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
The Patriots could use additional defensive tackle depth even if they retain Alan Branch in free agency.
Round 5, 183rd Overall Pick: CB Shaquill Griffin, Central Florida
Griffin entered the combine ranked as an undrafted prospect then wowed with one of the more impressive overall workouts. He has the size and athleticism to shine in the NFL.
Round 7, 239th Overall Pick: WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan
Chesson wasn’t overly productive at Michigan, but he’s got fantastic athleticism for his 6-foot-3, 204-pound frame.
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