Coming off of their record tying sixth Super Bowl title, the New England Patriots have lost some key contributors, and need to restock with the draft. New England has stockpiled a slew of draft picks for the 2019 season.
While the team had their question marks entering this time last year, the Pats were able to overcome their shortcomings to place another ring of Brady’s finger. The same concerns are there yet again, but with another draft comes a new group of players hungry to bring another ring to Foxborough.
Let’s dive into the positions the defending world champions need filled, and who they may pick to do the job.
New England’s Picks:
Round 1: 32
Round 2: 56, 64
Round 3: 73, 97, 101
Round 4: 134
Round 5: N/A
Round 6: 205,
Round 7: 239, 243, 246, 252
Primary Positions of Need:
Irv Smith Jr. TE- Alabama 6’3” 245 lbs
Playing under Nick Saban will make the NFL an easier transition than most for Smith Jr. As the son of a man who played in the league, he was blessed with a rare amount of athleticism that was not always shown off in Alabama’s system. He’s immensely talented, but the lack of production is a slight concern. In 2018 he boasted 710 yards and seven touchdowns. Not bad, but not great. In the right system he has the skills to be a perennial Pro Bowler.
Pro Comparison: Vernon Davis
Jerry Tillery DT- Notre Dame 6’7” 305 lbs
Talk about a monster of a man. For his size, Jerry Tillery moves fantastically. For someone who would seem to be a run stuffer, he had a knack for getting to the quarterback during his four year career (12.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss). New England could use a dominant force in the middle, and Tillery can fit that bill.
Pro Comparison: DeForest Buckner
Hakeem Butler WR- Iowa State 6’6” 228 lbs
FREAK. OF. NATURE. Butler is huge, strong, and has blazing speed. Forget DK Metcalf. This is the kid that should be going in the first round. In 2018 as a junior, he had 1,318 yards, and nine touchdowns for the Cyclones. Whoever gets this kid will have a star on their hands. Could be a Brady to Moss situation for New England.
Pro Comparison: AJ Green
Oshane Ximines EDGE- Old Dominion 6’4” 255 lbs
Most people probably haven’t heard of the stud from Old Dominion, but he could be a mid round steal in the draft. As a senior, Ximines had 11.5 sacks, and 18 tackles for a loss. Sure, you can contribute that to his weak conference, but he clearly stood out as the best player on the field most games.
Pro Comparison: Melvin Ingram III
Andy Isabella WR- UMass 5’9” 190 lbs
“Aye just another white guy to throw into the slot!”. Wrong. This kid is special, and clearly one of the best receivers in this draft class. The 2018 college football leading receiver to boot. The UMass senior put up otherworldly numbers last year; 1777 scrimmage yards and fourteen touchdowns. On top of that, Isabella is a burner, with a 40 yard dash of 4.3, and elite quickness make this man dangerous inside, and outside the numbers.
Pro Comparison: Steve Smith Sr.
Caleb Wilson TE- UCLA 6’4” 240 lbs
Here’s a very good athlete who has a lot of growing to do. Wilson has really only shown flashes throughout his career, but those flashes are impressive. With 960 yards and four touchdowns last season, he shows promise of being a solid receiving tight end on the next level. Decent speed, decent hands, decent toughness, in the right environment he could take the next step.
Pro Comparison: Jordan Reed
Mike Bell SS- Fresno State 6’3” 210 lbs
Old school football player. Mike Bell is coming down hill with a purpose, to HIT. Last season Bell had 87 tackles, and three interceptions from the strong safety spot. He could be a fourth or fifth round guy, but either way he’ll be a bargain. I see him as a top five safety in this draft class. A very bad 4.83, 40 yard dash will lead to his dropping in the draft.
Pro Comparison: Kam Chancellor
Will New England grab all these promising prospects? Of course not, but if they can get a few of them I would consider it an extremely successful draft.
With twelve picks it’s difficult to miss on everyone, so I’m sure Belichick will make a splash at some point over the three days and 256 picks. New England will trade, and move these picks around, so if the Patriots leave the draft only making seven or eight picks I would be far from surprised. New England has become depleted this offseason, and it’s imperative that these needs get filled or it could be a long season in Foxboro.
Although, it doesn’t really matter. They’ll always make it work anyway.
Check back on Monday for a late round draft preview by Chrstiain Martinelli
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