For this Mock Draft I will use PatsFans.com poster Bacon Grundle Candy’s (BGC) Big Board of Patriot type players as my rankings. This Big Board is segregated by Rounds in which he thinks these players should be taken. For the Patriots needs, I used PatsFans.com Steve Balestrieri’s listing of Patriots needs from his Sunday 4/12 Notes column. For my 3rd Mock Draft I am using a 3rd different Mock Simulator. This time I am using the free Mock Simulator from Pro Football Focus (PFF.com). Although this Mock Simulator allows trades. I forced myself not to make any trades. The unique feature with this Mock Simulator, is that some team must be interested in trading for your pick. Hence, there needs to be a player on the board that they are interested in trading up for. Bill Belichick may have problems finding trade partners in this draft.
R1 P23 Mekhi Becton OT Louisville – 6’7” 364# with nearly 36” reach, 5.1 40. This man is so big he has his own area code. Immediate plug in at RT. Replaces the 32 yo RT Cannon. Cutting Cannon will save another $4.5M on the salary cap, or enough to sign the entire draft class and have money left to sign a player or two. Becton started 33 games in his 3 years at Louisville. He has a 7’ wingspan and is adept at either L or R Tackle. He has nimble feet for such a big man. Weight management will be a concern for him. BGC Rating 1st Round. Four other players with BGC 1st round grades were available but clearly Becton was the BPA. He should be a starter for 10 years and a mainstay on the OL.
R3 P87 K’Von Wallace S Clemson – 5’ 11” 206#, 4.53 40, 6.76 3 cone – Wallace is a hitter everywhere on the field. He is best known for blitzing, either sacking the QB or disrupting the run. He played the Big Nickel and safety positions. However, he is not very good in man coverage and there are questions if he has the instincts to play single high safety. BGC Rating mid 2nd Round. I am not as big a fan of Wallace, but we are using BGC’s Big Board and I am staying true to that. This would be a value pick at #87.
R3 P98 Lynn Bowden WR Kentucky – 5’11” 204# DNP in Combine Field Events – This is the 2nd time I have picked Bowden, but earlier this time. Versatile – I have seen Bowden listed as a RB in many places but he is projecting to a slot receiver. He finished the last 8 games this past season as the Wildcats starting QB rushing for 1468 yards and 13 TDs. He had 7.9 yards per carry. He also started 5 games as a WR and led Kentucky with 30 receptions. He is a terrific Punt Returner and returns Kickoffs as well. He didn’t run at the combine or his Pro Day but is projected to run between 4.38 and 4.58. BGC Rating 3rd Round. KJ Hill was available but chose Bowden because of his versatility and PR ability.
R3 P100 Leki Fotu NT – 6’ 5” 330# 34” arms, 5.15 40 – Fotu is a typical Samoan DLineman, a space eater. Fotu played rugby growing up and was good enough to play for the US National Jr team. Only played 1 year of HS football. He would immediately replace Received a medical flag at the Senior bowl so that’s worth mentioning if he should drop in the draft. He is an immediate replacement for Danny Shelton. BGC Rating 3rd Round
R4 P125 Bryce Hopkins TE Purdue – 6’ 4” 245” 4.66 40 – Hopkins blossomed as a Sr with 61 catches for 830 yds, 7 TDs in 12 games (11 starts). He is limited to be a slot TE. Not very good at blocking and he struggles to get separation in man coverage. BGC Rating 3rd Round.
R5 P172 James Proche WR SMU – 5’11” 201# Did BP and interviews only at combine. His 20 reps on BP was third highest for WR (one below both TE’s I have selected). Estimated 4.52 40 per NFL Daft Scout. I have included Proche in all three Mock Drafts. Proche had an incredible career at SMU. Played 4 years and had 301 catches, for 3869 yards and 39 TDs. He has terrific ball tracking skills and has return skills as well. When the ball is near him, its his. Great body control. Reports from the Senior Bowl often mentioned the Patriots and James Proche in the same sentence. He made several highlight reel catches during the practices. He also runs precise routes. Very determined and competitive. BGC had him ranked much higher as a high 3rd round selection. Great value at #172
R6 P195 Dalton Keene TE Virginia Tech – 6’ 4” 253#, 4.71 40. 7.07 3-cone. NESN’s Doug Kyed has convinced me. Keene is the Sleeper of the TE class. Kyed says “He left for the pros after his junior season, so he’s still only 20 years old. He’s a good blocker, moves well, has NFL size and speed and is unrelenting after the catch. He’s also versatile. He can play tight end, H-back, fullback and some running back.” Kyed compares him to George Kittle coming out of college. Little production but great potential. This is the 2nd time I have selected Keene. BGC has a rating of a 4th Round. Again a great value.
R6 P204 Antoine Brooks S Maryland – 5’ 11’ 220# 4.64 40, 20 BP no other results – Brooks has the size of a LB and originally played the position as a freshman. Moved to S as a soph and developed quickly. He is another banger. More suited as an in the box safety than single high safety. Will have an impact on special teams and should contribute on all 4 ST units. BGS Ranking 4th Round. Another good value.
R6 P212 Mychal Walker LB Fresno St – 6’3” 230# 4.65 7.09 3 cone 10’s” BJ. Walker played ILB, transferred to Fresno St from Azusa Pacific after a very successful Soph season with 102 tackles, 11 for loss and 2.5 sacks. Started 14 games as a Jr after sitting out a year (transfer) and led the Bulldogs on Defense with an impressive stat line of 87 tackles, 14 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 6 pass breakups, Int, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 blocked kicks. As a Senior he had 93 tackles, 9 for loss, 4 pass breakups in 12 games. All conference 1st team both as Jr and Sr, team Defensive MVP as a Jr. Above average field awareness but doesn’t play with NFL level physicality. Core special teamer. BGC Ranking 4th Rd. Good value again.
R6 P213 Nate Stanley QB Iowa – 6’4” 238 4.81 40, size 10 hands – Stanley played in parts of 7 games as a Freshman and then started three years. Three year captain. Although he is very experienced, he has never thrown for over 60% completion percentage which is a key point for the Patriots. He will compete for a spot on the PS and be a camp arm. Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz is a discipline from the Belichick coaching tree. So BB has the inside scoop on Stanley. BGC Ranking 4th Round. I would normally have taken James Morgan FIU before taking Stanley.
R7 P230 Kyle Murphy IOL Rhode Island – 6’3” 313, 5.3 40, Murphy is as experienced as they come, starting 3 games as a true Freshman, full time starter as Soph (12 games 6 L, 6 RT), all conference as Jr (11 games 10 LT and 1 OC) and as a Senior (12 games at LT). AP 2nd Team All American. Very versatile and projects to OG because of lack of height. Team captain his senior season. Native of Atlleboro MA. Very good pass blocker but will need to improve his strength at the NFL level. Good developmental prospect that the Patriots could slide to PS for further development. BGC Ranking 3rd Round. Terrific value for this late in the draft.
R7 P 241 Tyler Bass K Georgia Southern – 5’ 10” 185 – Bass has a tremendous percentage of touchbacks on kickoffs (73.9%) during his career and his accuracy between 30 – 50 yards is very good at 93%. He is on the small size, but has a big leg. Concerns that he wasn’t asked to try kicks over 50 yards, but his kickoff% indicates he should be able to make those kicks. BGC has no rankings for Kickers. I would prefer to take one as an UDFA. Another name to kick around is Chase Vinatieri from South Dakota St. Hhhhmmm that name and school rings a bell! He is Adam Vinatieri’ nephew, as they both played for SDSU. He is the biggest of the available kickers at 6’ 2” 215 and he has experience kicking in bad weather.
This was a fun exercise. Players I like, the NFL GMs like as well and they usually go higher than these draft simulators project. Walker, Keene, Proche, Murphy and Bowden will probably go higher than where I was able to draft them. That is the fun of the draft, adjusting the strategy to meet the needs of the team while always trying to maximize the value by selecting the Best Player Available. This is my last 7 round Patriots Mock Draft. Next Thursday I will post a 1st round draft prediction.
Note: Preparations are ongoing for this unprecedented draft. There will be a test of the draft process next week a few days before the draft to work out any bugs in the system. The league will run a live mock draft with all 32 teams participating. They will be testing out their logistical processes to insure they can all communicate.
One area that will be an absolute free-for-all will be signing of UDFA. Immediately after the draft UDFA can sign with teams. Usually there is little negotiations of bonuses. The Patriots have been known to pay some of the highest bonuses to UDFA. That might explain why they get players that end up sticking on the roster. Every year dating back to Adam Vinatieri, the Patriots have had an UDFA make their team out of camp. This year the logistics of signing these players will be much more difficult. Usually as the draft gets to that last round teams are calling agents and telling them if their client doesn’t get drafted they will sign them for X amount of bonus. The UDFA weighs the chance they will get with that team based upon the team needs and whether or not an UDFA will get an honest chance to make the team or just be camp fodder.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Draft
Tags: 2020 NFL Draft 2020 Patriots Draft Bill Belichick New England Patriots