With a heavy run at quarterback expected through the top 10 picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, one of the more dynamic playmakers in this year’s class potentially could fall into the Patriots’ lap.
NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter in a column published Monday pinpointed the “ideal top two picks” for all 32 teams. Reuter did not account for potential trades, instead basing his projections on where each team currently is scheduled to make its first two selections.
For the Patriots, who own the 15th overall pick and aren’t slated to make their next selection until No. 46, Reuter believes Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell would be great fits.
“The Patriots have tried to improve their receiver group by signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne as free agents,” Reuter wrote for NFL.com. “Waddle’s speed would take the crew to another level, though. His return ability would be a boon to the Patriots’ special teams, as well. Picking up a cornerback like Campbell in Round 2 would build depth for 2021 and provide a potential replacement for Stephon Gilmore, who is in the final year of his contract.”
Cornerback has gone somewhat overlooked as a pressing need in New England. Gilmore’s future can be labeled as uncertain, and the Patriots potentially could find themselves in a contract dispute with No. 2 corner J.C. Jackson in the near future. Outside of those top-tier talents, New England only has Joejuan Williams, Michael Jackson Sr. and newcomer Jalen Mills on its CB depth chart.
Wide receiver is an obvious need for the Patriots and has been for some time. Adding a player with Waddle’s skill set could provide New England’s offense with a wrinkle it hasn’t had at its disposal in years. If the Patriots aren’t able to land one of the top five QB prospects, they definitely should consider targeting Waddle in the first round, if he’s available.