UPDATE: Per Multiple Sources, the New England Patriots have acquired OT Trent Brown and a 2018 fifth-round draft choice (#143) from the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 third round selection (#95.) At present, the Patriots no longer hold a third-round selection. (Source)
In Round One of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots helped to bolster their offense by selecting Georgia offensive tackle/guard Isaiah Wynn with the 23rd selection, and his fellow Bulldogs’ teammate running back Sony Michel at pick 31. As they approach Day Two, they still have needs at linebacker, secondary, skilled pass catchers (either at wide receiver or tight-end), and even at quarterback.
In anticipation of what is sure to be another intriguing day for Patriots Nation, here is a look at some of the potential targets that might be on the Patriots radar on Friday evening.
(NOTE: The below player-listings do not indicate rank, or potential draft position)
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa: Jackson is an accomplished corner that would more than help to fill the void left by Malcolm Butler. He’s a long, athletic, supreme play-maker at who will thrive in a solid system. He had eight interceptions last year at Iowa. Jackson quickly reacts to what’s in front of him, and that might make him appealing to Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense.
Harold Landry, DE/OLB, Boston College: Landry led the nation with 16.5 sacks when he was fully healthy 2016. He would more than help the Patriots need to apply consistent defensive pressure.He unquestionably has the best burst/bend combination of any defender in the draft. Landry might be off-the-board by the time the Pats pick at 43. However, if available, he would be the steal of the second round.
Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, Georgia: Carter possesses the height and athleticism that would make him a formidable edge rusher for the Patriots. Carter can adequately rush the passer and even play as an off-ball linebacker. While he may need to add a bit more strength to defend against the run, he possesses flashes of high-caliber speed, and ability to bend around the edge.
Harrison Phillips, DL, Stanford: His 42 reps on the bench made him the 2018 combine champ for all positions. Phillips has a wrestling background (he was a three-time Nebraska state champion in high school) which fuels his ‘non-stop effort’ mentality. His perseverance and versatility would serve him well in New England.
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado: A former decathlete, Oliver brings a good blend of speed and strength to the cornerback position. The Patriots seemed to lag a bit in that area in 2017. This was due to an off-year by Butler, as well as a lack of ability to defend against chunk plays. Oliver’s athleticism could be a welcome addition in Foxboro for 2018.
Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State: After knocking around Canada and Division II, he looked ready for the big stage given the way he competed at the Senior Bowl. Despite the additions of Danny Shelton and Adrian Clayborn, Shepherd could be a good value in the second round and provide some always-needed depth on defense.
Rasheem Green, DL, Southern California: Green needs to add bulk to his 6’4″, 275-pound frame. However, his ability to play on the line and apply consistent pressure could make him a great find for the Patriots on Day Two. With added strength, he has the potential of turning a few heads in 2018.
Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State: Leonard is a high-cut coverage specialist at the linebacker position. With a great combination of size and speed, he would fit nicely into the emerging new mold of modern NFL linebackers. He would be a nice compliment to Dont’a Hightower in New England.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: Gesiki is an exceptional athlete. He posted a 41½-inch vertical and a 4.54-second 40 at the combine. Should the Pats look to add depth at tight end, Gesiki is one of the best of the remaining options for sure. He could add blocking depth, and help to improve the Patriots passing attack. He also might be a nice insurance policy, should the future playing status of Rob Gronkowski once again get called into question at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State: Goedert is another potentially game-changing tight end. He racked up eye-popping numbers for his position in 2016 (92 catches for 1,293 yards and 11 TDs). He would help to diversify the Patriots passing attack and provide the chance for a return to the formidable two-tight-end set that the Pats love to employ.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: If available at #43, the Patriots have to strongly consider Rudolph. He’s big (6’5″ 235), smart, was highly productive and efficient in Oklahoma State’s spread offense. He also throws a mighty fine deep ball. Rudolph has the pedigree but remains highly coachable. He seems to be willing to wait for another year or two behind Tom Brady, which is a quality that is not as trivial as it seems on the surface.
Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU: Sutton is a 6′ 3″, 218-pound high-point dominator with sneaky athleticism in the open field. He’d make plenty of sense for the Patriots at No. 43 should they decide to boost production at wide receiver. While the Pats might prefer to wait at wideout, Sutton could change that, if still available.
Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond: He put up some impressive numbers at Richmond. He completed 67 percent of his passes last fall, had three-straight 3,000-yard seasons. Over the last three years, he watched his touchdown pass total grow from 19 (to start) to 24 and then 28. Lauletta’s draft stock rose prominently after his MVP-winning performance at the Senior Bowl. Scouts were impressed with the speed and quickness with which he was able to pick up schemes and game plans.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford: Scouts have praised Schultz and see him as a do-it-all Y tight end. He is a good route-runner, excellent at catching the ball, and a really good blocker. As a third-round projection, he might be sleeper selection, with ‘steal’ potential. As an adept blocker and receiver, he looks to fit the mold of the prototypical Patriots tight end quite nicely.
Rounds Two and Three of the NFL Draft continue Friday Evening, April 27, at 7:00pm.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC