Patriots Draft Needs
Now that the Free Agent Frenzy has subsided and most teams have filled their needs or at least exhausted their budget, we can look at the needs that remain and could be filled by the draft.
In my opinion, the Patriots’ needs are prioritized as follows:
Why CB – just look at the two lopsided Bills games. It’s not all the DBs fault. The lack of a pass rush and ability to contain Josh Allen put tremendous pressure on the secondary and they folded. We have no idea what we are going to get from Malcolm Butler. Terrance Mitchell should only be a veteran backup. I am not sold on Jalen Mills. Having Jonathan Jones back will help. None of these players are a CB 1 that can shut down the top receiver of the opponent.
Why NT – The Patriots got run over last year. They need someone that can stuff the run. Davon Godchaux didn’t provide that. Carl Davis was allowed to become an Unrestricted Free Agent and hasn’t had a sniff at a contract even at the vet minimum. On the roster, you have Dan Ekuale and Bill Murray. I like Ekuale’s effort but they don’t exactly strike fear in the opponents. Murray is a try-hard undersized DT.
Why LB – The Patriots lack speed at LB. Donta Hightower, Jaime Collins, and Brandon King are Free Agents and Kyle Van Noy was let go. None have hooked on with another team, not even at Vet Minimum. That’s how slow they were last year. They might even draft two linebackers. I am not impressed with the players they have on the roster at LB. They obtained Mack Wilson in an exchange for Chase Winovich, a player that did not develop. Raekwon McMillan had a good camp last year until a knee injury felled him for the season. You don’t know if he can come back or if he has anything left in the tank. Ja’Whaun Bentley is a thumper but is only a two-down player. He can’t cover anyone downfield. The Pats need speed at the LB spot and there are plenty of good LBs available in the draft. Have we seen anything from Aferneee Jennings?
Why OT – Wynn is entering his Free Agent year and Trent Brown has become injury prone the last three years. Finding a starting caliber OT late in the draft is not impossible but can be difficult. This player doesn’t need to start right away and can use the season to get up to NFL caliber as far as technique and functional strength goes.
Why OG – This is an immediate need as they do not have a starting Left Guard on the roster. It is much easier finding an OG late in the draft. That’s why it’s not as high a priority. You can take undersized LTs and convert them to LG. Logan Mankins is a perfect example.
Why WR – I know they just signed DeVante Parker but he is just like the receivers they already have. He is a possession receiver. The big difference with Parker is that he wins those 50/50 balls. The bad part of Parker is that he has so many 50/50 balls because he can’t separate. They need speed at the slot position and someone that can return punts.
Belichick usually drafts the best player available. They don’t have that luxury this year with so many holes in the team and no available money under the Salary Cap to fix all the problems. I said it last year when they were setting their roster, they had too many players over 30 on the team.
Top 30 Visits
Each team is allowed to bring in 30 players for interviews, workouts, or medical evaluation. Some player’s agents have let it be known their players have received an invite by the Patriots. This doesn’t mean the Patriots will draft these players. Sometimes they are smokescreens hiding the identity of a player they are interested in.
So far the following players have indicated they have a received an invite from the Patriots:
Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
Jack Jones, CB, Arizona St
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona St
Darien Butler, LB, Arizona St
Trevor Penning,OT, Northern Iowa
Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
Keyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
Patriots Hall of Fame semi-finalists
These nine will be whittled down to 3 finalists. The fan vote will determine who is selected.
Fairbanks and Parcells will be eliminated because of the way they left the team. John Smith, a good, not great player for the team, won’t make it because he is a kicker. That leaves 6 quality players and any one of them could be selected and nobody would question it. It then becomes a popularity contest. Julius Adams is going to have a hard time beating out any of the modern Patriots that played under Belichick.
Vrabel may not get the nomination because he is a coach for another team. My three finalists would be Milloy, Mankins, and Welker. I am not including Wilfork because he would win the popular vote whenever he is nominated.
Sad Passing of Steelers QB Dwayne Haskins
The death of 24-year-old Steelers QB Dwayne Haskins is both tragic and bizarre. Haskins was hit and killed by a dump truck while walking on I-595 westbound, an interstate highway in Ft. Lauderdale Florida at 7 AM. It is believed that low visibility due to sunrise may have been a factor. Haskins for some reason tried to cross the multi-lane highway. It is always tragic whenever a young person dies at such a young age. This has nothing to do with the color of his skin or the success or failure the young man has had as an athlete. My condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans.
Happy Birthday Bill Belichick
Number 70 for Bill is coming up on April 16th. No coach in the NFL has won a Super Bowl in their 70’s.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Draft
Tags: 2022 Patriots Draft