You can’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, it’s impossible not to.
When people hear about late round draft picks, they generally assume the picks will only be used on scrubs. But remember that time where the New England Patriots owned the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft?
Gems can be found in the later rounds. While the early rounds tend to have more projected stars, some players are only one adjustment away from becoming the next big thing in football.
As the draft quickly approaches, the Patriots have a lot of work to do. With six picks on the third day, New England will be working as hard as possible to find some late help.
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:
Here are some players that the Pats should consider in the later rounds of the draft.
Tre Watson ILB- Maryland 6’3” 240 lbs
Would you believe Watson led the Big Ten in interceptions last season... as an inside linebacker? Well it’s true, and very impressive. Watson isn’t high on many people’s mock drafts, but I like him. A LOT. Not only can he cover, but last season he racked up 108 tackles. Sleeper!
Pro Comparison: Myles Jack
Mitch Hyatt OT- Clemson 6’5” 305 lbs
He’s rated extremely low for a national champion, two time all-ACC, and an all-American offensive tackle. Every week he faced the best pass rushers in the country, and did very well. His lack of foot quickness is the reason for concern, but could be a great backup for New England. Anything is better than LaAdrian Waddle.
Pro Comparison: Mitchell Schwartz
Dontavius Russell DT- Auburn 6’3” 320 lbs
He eats more space than he does calories, and at his size, it’s near improbable to move him off his spot. Russell could be a great mid to late round pick up, due to his knack for stuffing the run up the middle. With 153 tackles for his career, seventeen of those for a loss, the lineman is a very good, very large player.
Pro Comparison: Marcell Dareus
Hunter Renfrow WR- Clemson 5’10” 185 lbs
I actually might be saying Renfrow just due to his skin color. Sometimes things just make too much sense. All jokes aside, he’s a clutch performer, and two time national champion. His quickness, and route running ability would flourish in the slot position for New England.
Pro Comparison: Kendall Wright
David Long CB- Michigan 5’11” 198 lbs
The first team all-Big Ten corner shows some promise, but he doesn’t jump off the screen. That could be due to how rarely he was thrown at this season. He will probably be available in the late rounds, and whoever drafts him will be getting a very smart, solid player. 4.45 speed and a 40 inch vertical isn’t too shabby either.
Pro Comparison: Darrelle Revis (Yes, he could be that good)
QB Jake Browning QB- Washington 6’2” 210 lbs
The former PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year is being overlooked by everyone throughout this draft process. He used to be considered a first round talent, but now is being seen somewhere from the sixth round to undrafted. In his career, he had a PAC-12 record 39 wins, a completion percentage of 64.6, 110 total touchdowns, and 12,296 yards passing. Pretty damn good if you ask me. If he’s there late, New England may as well take a chance on him. Maybe when Brady retires in sixteen years he can be the replacement.
Pro Comparison: Case Keenum
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. Players drafted in the late rounds will have a huge impact.
Although, it doesn’t really matter. They’ll always make it work anyway.
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