The Patriots are set to make their first 2022 NFL Draft pick at No. 21 overall, but Chad Reuter believes New England won’t select its first player until later in Round 1.
Reuter on Friday released a four-round mock draft, which has the Patriots and Chiefs engaging in a first-round trade. The veteran draft analyst currently projects Kansas City to move up to No. 21 in order to draft Jameson Williams, who potentially could help Patrick Mahomes and company fill the void left behind by Tyreek Hill.
New England, now at No. 29 in Reuter’s mock draft, addresses its so-so secondary by selecting Michigan safety Dax Hill.
“Bill Belichick loves versatile secondary players like Hill, who could play nickel, outside corner or free safety depending on how the depth chart stacks up over the next few years,” Reuter wrote for NFL.com.
Fellow draft analyst Lance Zierlein put together an overview ahead of late-April’s draft.
“Hybrid safety/nickel with an outstanding blend of speed, explosiveness and coverage versatility,” Zierlein wrote. “Hill is a smooth, twitchy athlete who is unencumbered in his coverage movements. He’s rangy playing over the top, has the eyes and burst to play zone, and the oily hips and length to shade bigger slots in man coverage. He can trigger quickly downhill to cut off angles in run support but his play demeanor is more run-and-cover than run-and-hit near the line. Hill has premium athletic traits, enticing coverage talent and the ability to make plays on the ball from anywhere he is aligned. He’s sure to be a coveted target for defenses trapped in pass-happy divisions.”
The Patriots could go in several directions in Round 1, and you could argue New England should prioritize a linebacker or wide receiver over a hybrid DB. But Hill certainly has the makings of a player who would catch Belichick’s eye.