The New England Patriots could use their first three picks in next week’s NFL draft on a quarterback, offensive tackle and wide receiver in some order.

But even once the Patriots address those most glaring needs, they will still have five draft picks at their disposal. What position could the Patriots target in the middle to late rounds? How about a cornerback.

Drafting a corner doesn’t feel like it should be a priority for the Patriots. They are well-stocked at the position due to the returns of Christian Gonzalez and Marcus Jones. But that hasn’t stopped New England from doing its due diligence on prospects who could provide depth in the secondary.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Patriots will get a closer look at cornerback Decamerion Richardson on Monday when the Mississippi State product comes to Foxboro on a visit. Richardson won’t be the only prospect at One Patriot Place on Monday with one of the draft’s top quarterbacks expected to be paying New England a visit as well.

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Schefter also noted that Richardson will have also met with the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans by the end of the week.

Richardson started 26 games in his career at Mississippi State and the 6-foot-2, 195-pound corner showed well at the combine, displaying his athleticism and running a 4.34 40-yard dash. Richardson somehow never recorded an interception with the Bulldogs — he did have seven passes defended this past season — and NFL analyst Lance Zierlein sees clear limitations with his skill set.

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“Two-year starting cornerback with outstanding physical features but below-average coverage features,” Zierlein wrote. “He’s leggy with below-average lateral transitions and change of direction in space. Richardson doesn’t play with enough anticipation or short-area burst to make plays on the ball but does have a big make-up gear in a straight line. He’s OK as a tackler but should get better with a greater focus in that department. Richardson’s size and top-end speed will immediately garner attention, but he doesn’t appear to have the skill set to play safety and will be limited by a narrow scheme fit.”

It’s puzzling that Zierlein believes Richardson is just an average tackler since that seemed to be an area of strength for the 23-year-old. He led all SEC corners in tackles the last two seasons — he tallied 79 last season and 85 in 2022. But corners with high-tackle totals aren’t always a good sign since it can signal that the receiver they are covering is making catches on them.

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Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports had Richardson in his latest mock draft going to the Seattle Seahawks with the second pick in the fourth round, one selection ahead of the Patriots.

But if the Seahawks pass on him, perhaps the Patriots will be ready to pounce.

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