The New England Patriots are slated to make three selections through the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Mel Kiper Jr., however, currently projects Bill Belichick and Co. only to make two.
Kiper on Tuesday released his latest three-round mock draft, which has the Patriots moving up from No. 15 to No. 7 in order to draft Mac Jones. The veteran draft analyst believes this hypothetical trade with the Detroit Lions would cost New England the 46th overall pick (second round) in addition to future selections.
Why does Kiper like Jones’ potential fit in Foxboro?
“I have Jones slightly ahead of Trey Lance, and I think he’s more ready to play as a rookie, particularly for a team that made several win-now moves this offseason,” Kiper wrote for ESPN.com. “Plus, Josh McDaniels has already proven that he can game plan for a pocket passer with tremendous accuracy.”
Following the selection of Jones, the Patriots in Kiper’s latest mock don’t pick again until 96th overall. Kiper in this spot has New England bolstering its secondary in the form of cornerback Tay Gowan out of Central Florida.
“Gowan has upside as a press corner on the outside, but he might need some time to develop, considering he has just one season of FBS play on his resume,” Kiper wrote. “But Stephon Gilmore is potentially a free agent in 2022, so cornerback depth is welcomed in New England.”
We’ll soon find out if Kiper’s projections come to fruition. The first round of the draft will be held next Thursday, April 29, while the remaining rounds will be completed April 30 and May 1.