NFL Analyst Projects Patriots To Go Defense In First Round Of Draft

This would address a major need in New England

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Countless 2021 NFL mock drafts have the Patriots drafting a quarterback in the first round, either at New England’s scheduled No. 15 pick or high up following a trade.

NFL analyst Charley Casserly, however, doesn’t see New England targeting a signal-caller on Day 1 of the draft. In fact, he doesn’t see Bill Belichick and Co. addressing their offense at all.

In his latest mock draft for NFL.com, Casserly projects the Patriots to use the 15th overall pick on South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.

“With starting cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore set to hit free agency next offseason, Bill Belichick begins planning for the future with a young player possessing plenty of upside, especially in New England’s scheme,” Casserly wrote.

Cornerback certainly is a need for New England heading into the draft. Even in the short term, the Patriots’ depth at the position outside of Gilmore and Jackson is fairly weak.

That said, offense seemingly should be the priority for New England later this month. If the Patriots aren’t able to land one of the top five QB prospects, a game-changing wide receiver potentially could fall into their lap. Not to mention, New England has a pretty good track record of finding productive corners after the draft is over.

But Casserly’s projection, coupled with all of the others from fellow analysts, offers an important reminder: trying to figure out what Belichick might do during the draft effectively is a fool’s errand.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

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