The New England Patriots are in a tough spot as they enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Patriots have the 23rd overall pick in this year’s draft then don’t select again until late in the third round. The 23rd overall pick is too early to select a player at their biggest need, tight end, but the top players at that position might be gone by the third round.
FIRST ROUND, 23RD OVERALL: TRADE
The Texans offered us the eighth and 25th picks in the second round for our first-round pick. That’s exactly what we were looking for, so we accepted.
With linebackers Kenneth Murray and Zack Baun still available at the start of the second round, we considered trading back up. Instead, we stood pat while Murray and Baun came off the board.
SECOND ROUND, 40TH OVERALL: EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
We selected the top available edge defender with our first pick. Lewis is a slight risk since he dealt with some injuries at Alabama and missed the 2018 season with a torn ACL, but he impressed at the NFL scouting combine with a 37-inch vertical leap and 10-feet, 4-inch broad jump at 6-foot-5, 262 pounds. He collected six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 2019. He’s a potential first-round talent who will likely slip because of the injuries he dealt with in college. He could slot in for Kyle Van Noy as an outside linebacker in the Patriots’ hybrid defensive front.
SECOND ROUND 57TH OVERALL: TE Adam Trautman, Dayton
Trautman is the most complete tight end in the draft. He has impressive athleticism and legit blocking ability at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds. His low level of competition at Dayton is concerning, but the Patriots need a tight end who can move bodies in the run game and threaten the secondary as a pass-catcher.
THIRD ROUND, 87TH OVERALL: LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State
The Patriots need another big-bodied linebacker after losing Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts. Harrison is 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, can fill gaps in the run game and blitz on third down.
THIRD ROUND 98TH OVERALL: C Matt Hennessy, Temple
David Andrews’ health is still a bit of a mystery after he missed last season with blood clots in his lungs. Hennessy would serve as valuable starting-caliber insurance. With Ted Karras gone, the Patriots need that at the pivot position.
THIRD ROUND, 100TH OVERALL: TRADE
The Baltimore Ravens offered us the 23rd pick in the fourth round to move down six spots. There was no one, in particular, we were dead set on taking with this pick, so we gladly picked up the additional fourth-round pick to slide down.
THIRD ROUND, 106TH OVERALL: OT Jack Driscoll, Auburn
The Patriots could use another offensive tackle with Marcus Cannon getting up there in age with a hefty contract. Driscoll is 6-foot-5, 306 pounds and ran a 5.02-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He played guard and right tackle in his college career split between UMass and Auburn. His athleticism fits the Patriots’ scheme.
FOURTH ROUND, 125TH OVERALL: TRADE
We had three players we were targeting in the fourth round, so we sent this pick, the 26th selection in the fifth round and No. 27 in the seventh round to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 39th and 40th picks in the fourth round.
FOURTH ROUND, 129TH OVERALL: DT James Lynch, Baylor
We used the pick acquired from the Ravens on an athletic defensive tackle. He’s 6-foot-4, 289 pounds and ran a 7.39-second three-cone drill. He’s a potential third-down interior rusher after registering 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2019.
FOURTH ROUND, 145TH OVERALL: TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU
The Patriots should look to double up on tight ends, and grabbing the additional fourth-round pick lets us do that by taking Randy Moss’ son. He’s another complete tight end, though, at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, he’s smaller than Trautman.
FOURTH ROUND, 146TH OVERALL: WR John Hightower, Boise State
The Patriots get Jarrett Stidham a big-play threat in Hightower, who ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2, 183 pounds. He caught 51 passes for 943 yards with eight touchdowns in 2019 to go along with 16 carries for 154 yards and 26 kick returns for 639 yards with another score. He caught 12 deep passes for 468 yards with five touchdowns during his final college season.
SIXTH ROUND, 195TH OVERALL: K Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia
It actually wouldn’t be shocking to see the Patriots use a fourth- or fifth-round pick at kicker. We knew we could get Blankenship in the sixth, however, so we waited.
SIXTH ROUND, 204TH OVERALL: CB John Reid, Penn State
He’s small but athletic and projects in the slot.
SIXTH ROUND, 212TH OVERALL: S Shyheim Carter, Alabama
A Nick Saban-product, Carter could flash some versatility in the pros.
SIXTH ROUND, 213TH OVERALL: OT Terence Steele, Texas Tech
He’s an athletic project at 6-foot-6, 312 pounds with a 5.03-second 40-yard dash.
SEVENTH ROUND, 241ST OVERALL: K Tyler Bass, Georgia Southern
What? You don’t think the Patriots would draft two kickers. Well, watch me.