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New England Patriots, Mock Draft 1.0, Post Free Agency

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
March 30, 2018 at 8:30 am ET

New England Patriots, Mock Draft 1.0, Post Free Agency(PHOTO: David Butler II - USA TODAY Sports)

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Where will the Patriots look to first in 2018?

With Free Agency now over a few weeks old, it is time take an early crack at looking at the draft from a Patriots perspective. There are still moves that can be and will be made in free agency and there is always the possibility of a trade that may affect the way the team looks at the draft. But with the initial free agency period winding down it is time to move to the draft.

We have been using the draft tool that the folks at Fanspeak.com that we’ve been touting for awhile and it is really good and highly recommended.

In their “On the Clock” simulator, you are the GM for any NFL team. You can choose how many rounds you’d like to draft for (1-7), and pick one of several big boards to choose from. The boards are normally updated every Tuesday.

The big boards for each site differ and the site has a random selection process that picks for the other 31 teams based upon the best player available and team needs that are constantly updated until it is your time to pick.

For this opening mock draft (3-30), I used the big board of Matt Miller, Bleacher Report.

Here is our first mock draft attempt this year: Mock 1.0

Round 1, Pick #31 Edge Sam Hubbard, Ohio State:

Maybe it is an omen, I finished uploading a draft profile on Hubbard into our database and started doing our first draft and all the best linebackers slipped off the board between 25-28 which we expected but getting Hubbard was a nice pickup.

He gives that needed depth on the edge, can step in and play at a high level on Day 1, can play either side so he’s versatile and can do a bit of everything.

To see our draft profile on him click here:

Round 2, Pick #43 TE, Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State:

The Patriots pick up a long-term replacement for Rob Gronkowski. Is this raw kid a Gronk clone? No, but he’s arguably the most complete tight end in the draft. And once a guy starts talking about retirement…

Good size and moves very well for a guy at 6’5, 255-pounds. He’s a guy that can be moved around at different spots and levels. Excellent hands adjusts well to the ball in the air. He’s a good blocker when playing in-line. He has good quickness and has excelled at getting free at the line of scrimmage and beating the jam. 

He’s a strong runner after the catch and can play the traditional “Y” or in-line tight end or the flex or “move” tight end outside. This kid will have a year or so to learn from Gronkowski and should be an immediate impact player.

Round 2, Pick #63 LB, Jerome Baker, Ohio State:

Baker is one of those “new breed” of linebackers at 6’1, 229 that are smaller but with speed and athleticism and he has plenty of that. Baker is a good tackler and very good in coverage due to his excellent speed and athleticism.

Baker doesn’t have a lot of size and his toughness, especially in the running game could be a question mark. But that is the price you pay when you go faster and more athletic at times. Not a great instinctive player but could be a very good third down linebacker, something the Patriots were lacking last year, especially in coverage.

Round 3, Pick #95 QB, Kyle Lauletta, Richmond:

Lauletta has been widely mocked to the Patriots all spring…which usually means that he won’t be coming. But by Round 3, the majority of the highly sought after quarterbacks were taken. Lauletta has the skill set to do very well with the Patriots.

He throws a nice ball and leads his receivers well, he won’t throw them into big hits. Lauletta has a quick release, very good footwork, moves well in the pocket and was a team leader. Doesn’t have a cannon for an arm but is very tough, physically, and mentally. Learning from Brady for a year or two may be just what the doctor ordered.

Lauletta’s draft profile by us can be seen here:

Round 4, Pick #136 CB, Taron Johnson, Weber State:

Johnson wasn’t a highly sought after recruit but parlayed that into a very positive career and a Senior Bowl invite. He’s not a big guy at 5’11, 192 which could push into the nickel or slot corner role and that would work just fine for the Patriots.

Johnson is a scrappy, aggressive corner with good coverage skills and broke up 42 passes in 45 career games. He’s also a good tackler, something the Patriots insist on with their corners, especially in the running game.

Round 6, Pick #210 RB, Justin Jackson, Northwestern:

Jackson is a 5’11, 193-pound running back who isn’t the biggest guy but has great vision and anticipation of where the holes are going to open up. He and Ron Dayne are the only Big Ten RBs that rushed for 1000+ yards in all four college seasons.

While not a power runner, he keeps his legs moving and has been a workhorse while catching 44 passes out of the backfield in his senior year. With the Patriots always going with a running back by committee approach, Jackson could be a very nice pickup, he’s a guy not afraid to run between the tackles and is good in the passing game.

Round 7, Pick #219 LB, Christian Sam, Arizona State:

Sam is a linebacker whose draft stock is all over the place. Some have him as a 2nd rounder, and we’ve seen him mocked all the way to where we found him in Round 7. He’s a steal here.

Sam is a 6’2, 237-pound linebacker who can play with speed, quickness, and change in direction. He’s a three-down linebacker with very good coverage skills. He’s got the potential to be a starter inside on Day 1 if he picks up the pro game quickly.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

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Friday Patriots Notebook 3/30: Could Gronk Be Traded? Caserio Scouting a QB

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Tags: 2018 NFL Draft 2018 Patriots offseason Bill Belichick Christian Sam Dallas Goedert Jerome Baker Justin Jackson Kyle Lauletta New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots mock drafts 2018 Rob Gronkowski Sam Hubbard Tauron Johnson Tom Brady

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