OK, that was the good news. It makes it easier to deliver the bad news. The Patriots lost two cornerstones of the franchise as Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung both retired leaving two massive gaps that need filling.
The Patriots have ten picks through the draft and they need to use all of these picks to pump some youth into an aging team. They’re going to need to draft a QB for the future, a new slot wide receiver, a middle linebacker, a free safety, and you can never have too much offensive line depth.
First Round Pick No. 15: Micah Parsons, LB Penn State
It’s easy to look at this QB class and say, “We should get a first-round QB when they fall.” Most likely that would result in either Mac Jones or Trey Lance. Mac Jones wouldn’t fit the Patriot’s new scheme. Trey would be a stellar pick because his scouting report screams young Cam Newton. It would make for a natural transition, but he won’t fall past John Elway and the Broncos.
The Patriots should draft Hightower’s replacement and that man is Micah Parsons. Parsons is an athletic monster who creates turnovers out of nowhere. He is essentially the perfect middle linebacker prospect, except for his character issues. He has been accused of choking a teammate and hazing incoming freshmen. We all know Bill loves three things, helping players with “character issues,” sleeveless sweaters, and defensive stars. Parsons hits two of the three on that checklist. I’m sure we can get him a sweater, it’s his choice what to do from there.
Second Round Pick: No. 46 Kellen Mond, QB Texas A&M
It’s time for the QB of the future, Kellen Mond. Mond is a four-year starter at one of the best programs in the country. He has an NFL ready arm and works well through progressions. He also has a decent level of mobility. The only knock against him is that he can be too confident in his arm and has shot himself in the foot by trying to force deep throws. He’s the perfect candidate to sit back for a year, develop and take over the franchise.
Third Round Pick: No. 96 Keith Taylor Jr., CB Washington
There is a wealth of questions surrounding the future of J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore for the Patriots. In an ideal world, the Patriots would pay both and they would be successful and not allow a completion through the life of their contract. Sadly, we aren’t living in Candy Land and one of the two will end up leaving the team in the near future. Keith Taylor jr. could help alleviate some of the stress.
Taylor is a big body (6-foot-2 195 pound) Cornerback who was a great defensive utility man for Washington. He rarely misses or loses tackles, but can get too focused in the backfield and lose sight of who he’s covering. The Patriots coaching staff can easily fix his issues and could transition him into a top-tier defender.
Fourth Round Picks: No. 120, 122, 139
Seth Williams, WR Auburn
Williams is a big body, vertical WR who has excellent pass blocking. More of a red zone WR, but his ability to block and finish Drives is enough to make Belichick crack a smile…or maybe just a smirk.
Jaelon Darden, WR North Texas (STEAL OF THE DRAFT)
Fact: Jaelon Darden is the perfect piece to fill the Gap Edelman left behind. He is explosive and fast which helps him separate from defenders. Scouts are concerned about his size, but that’s never stopped Belichick. An undersized return specialist with all the assets to be a star in the slot, is exactly what the Patriots need.
Brenden Jaimes, OT Nebraska
Anyone who watches college football knows how Nebraska is an Offensive lineman factory. Jaimes is a big framed athletic lineman who really only needs help with footwork. He’s great for the Patriots depth chart.
Fifth Round Pick: No. 177 Shaka Toney EDGE, Penn State
The Patriots have loved Michigan players recently, but this draft is all about their rivals at Penn State. Toney has the athletic ability to be a strong edge rusher, but needs to build up his frame.
Sixth Round Picks: No. 188, 197
Shi Smith, WR South Carolina
Another versatile WR, who can line up in the slot and use his speed to get elite separation. South Carolina has been producing top-tier WRs recently and the Patriots could and should use that to their advantage and snag this late round gem.
JaCoby Stevens, S LSU
An effective tackling safety, works well off of who is around him to make the best play. The biggest concern is that he has a hard time transitioning from the backpedal to straight coverage. Another depth chart guy who could use the mentoring of Devin McCourty.
Seventh Round Pick: No. 242 Kobie Whiteside, DT Mizzou
It’s hard to ignore a 300-pound defensive tackle. Mizzou is known to produce defensive line talent, but Kobie is a victim of a deep draft. He could be an analytical monster in a Belichick defense.