UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen seems to be falling down draft boards, and the New England Patriots, who have plenty of draft capital, have expressed interest in the signal caller.
To add some intrigue, the San Francisco 49ers, who might owe the Patriots a favor after acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for just a second-round pick, own the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Patriots could leapfrog the quarterback-hungry Miami Dolphins (No. 11 overall) and Buffalo Bills (No. 12 overall) by swinging a deal with the 49ers to move up and draft Rosen.
So, what would it take? According to the draft trade value chart, the No. 9 overall pick is worth 1,350 points. The Patriots’ Nos. 23 and 31 overall picks are worth 1360 points. Their No. 23, 43 and 63 overall picks are worth 1,350 points.
We’re going with the former in our latest mock draft, simply because it’s more fun to select more players for New England. Also, consider this: If the Patriots had the No. 31 overall pick, isn’t there a good chance they would trade it back to acquire more picks anyway? By giving up No. 23 and 31, it eliminates the middle man. It also means the Patriots basically traded away wide receiver Brandin Cooks for Rosen. The Patriots acquired the No. 23 overall pick from the Los Angeles Rams for Cooks.
That seems like a good deal.
Round 1, Ninth Overall Pick (trade 23rd overall, 31st overall picks to San Francisco 49ers): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
There are a lot of reasons to like Rosen, who’s still only 21 years old. He ranked high in all of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, including adjusted completion percentage, throwing under pressure, vs. the blitz and on the deep ball. His personality appears to have turned some teams off, but it reminds us a bit of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Round 2, 43rd Overall Pick: LB Uchenna Nwosu, USC
Nwosu primarily was a pass rusher at USC, but he also has experience dropping back into coverage. The Patriots potentially could move him to off-the-ball linebacker in the NFL. He has the athleticism to do so after running a 4.65-second 40-yard dash with a 7.05-second 3-cone and 4.27-second short shuttle at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds.
Round 2, 63rd Overall Pick: OT Brian O’Neill, Pitt
We like the prospect of taking O’Neill at No. 63 overall more than Kolton Miller at No. 31 overall. They’re similar athletes and probably shouldn’t be drafted a round apart based on their film.
Round 3, 95th Overall Pick: DE Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State
Lewis has the length to play on the edge and the strength to rush inside. He had 32 total pressures on 247 pass-rush snaps in 2017.
Round 6, 198th Overall Pick: WR Dylan Cantrell, Texas Tech
Cantrell is a perfect fit from a size and testing standpoint. His 6.56-second 3-cone drill and 4.07-second short shuttle is freaky for a 6-foot-3, 226-pound receiver.
Round 6, 210th Overall Pick: S Joshua Kalu, Nebraska
Kalu is explosive and agile, and he potentially could take over Jordan Richards’ role as the No. 4 safety on the Patriots.
Round 7, 219th Overall Pick: RB Chase Edmonds, Fordham
It’s worth taking a late-round flier on Edmonds to see if the FCS product could become a Dion Lewis-esque back.
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