There’s no doubt about it, a new era is fast arriving in New England. Tom Brady has left for sunnier skies in Tampa and gone are defensive stalwarts Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins. Having so far only made a few back-of-the-roster additions in free agency, the Patriots may look to the NFL Draft for answers to some major positional question marks.
Fortunately, they will have plenty of opportunities to find those solutions. With 12 total selections, including four compensatory picks, New England will have the chance to trade up and grab the player they want, or stand “Pat” and add several rookies to the 2020 mix. The only downside with this Patriots’ crop of draft picks? They have a large gap in between the 23rd and 87th overall selections due to trading their second rounder to Atlanta for wideout Mohamed Sanu.
In this mock draft, I won’t be making any trades but would not be surprised to see Belichick and co. wheel and deal as usual come April.
ROUND-PICK (OVR) • PLAYER • POS • SCHOOL • HT / WT
1-23 (23) • Zack Baun • EDGE • Wisconsin • 6-2 / 238 LBS
With multiple defections at the linebacker spot occurring in free agency, the Patriots grab a versatile defender who can fill a major need and play on the edge or at off the ball linebacker. With 4.65 speed, Baun can roam sideline to sideline while still having the size and strength to set the edge. His pass-rush ability may be what teams covet the most about him, as he totaled 12.5 sacks his senior season in Wisconsin. With a high football IQ and a versatile skill-set, Baun will be a dream chess-piece in Bill Belichick’s defense.
Wisconsin's Zack Baun needs to play a versatile role at the next level, can't have him at off-ball linebacker for full games. He's too good of a pass-rusher for that.pic.twitter.com/lHLQ47OQoW
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 1, 2020
3-23 (87) • Tyler Biadasz • OL • Wisconsin • 6-4 / 314 lbs
The Patriots go back to the Wisconsin well to grab another player who fills a glaring need. Winner of the Rimington Award for the Nation’s top Center, Biadasz started every game of his career, 41 overall, including all 13 games as a senior. A perfect fit for a pro-style team, Tyler displays power at the point of attack, excelling as a run blocker with a solid enough anchor and overall upper body strength to slow down pass-rushers. How he has recovered from a 2019 AC joint surgery will be key to his overall draft position.
See FPC’s Braden Holecek’s breakdown of Tyler here.
3-34 (98-Compensatory) • Lynn Bowden • WR • Kentucky • 6-1 / 199 LBS
This selection of the wide receiver-turned quarterback-turned wide receiver out of Kentucky may not make an immediate impact in the Patriots’ receiver corps but it will instantly upgrade their return game. Another versatile athlete, Lynn projects to be a slot receiver in the NFL. Bowden took over as the Wildcats starting quarterback in week seven of 2019 to run an option-style attack, averaging 7.9 yards on 185 carries to go along with 403 passing yards. He also led the Wildcats with 30 receptions for 348 yards and a score. This was after finishing 2018 with 67 grabs, 745 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. The switch to QB may have delayed his progress as a receiver, as his route-running is raw, but Lynn is still an outstanding all-around athlete with incredible quickness and acceleration. At a minimum, he should be able to step in immediately as a gadget play, run-after-the-catch receiver and returner. There is some concern about a hamstring strain that prevented him from running at the combine.
3-36 (100-Compensatory) • Thaddeus Moss • TE • LSU • 6-3/ 249 LBS
Though not the athlete his father (and former Patriot) Randy Moss was, Thaddeus proved to be more than capable as a receiver during his junior season in Lafayette. Running a variety of routes with quickness and toughness, he set single-season LSU marks at tight end with 42 receptions and 534 receiving yards in 2019. Despite drawing some comparisons to former Washington Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed, the younger Moss is actually a much better blocker, with a physical style that plays bigger than his size. Impressive bloodlines and a high football IQ should allow Moss to quickly step into a large role for a Patriots’ position group that totaled 37 receptions in 2019.
— The Breakshot (@TheBreakshot) February 19, 2020
4-19 (125) • Logan Wilson • LB • Wyoming • 6-2 / 240 LBS
Filling another need at linebacker, Wilson has the classic frame and strength to play inside at the Pro level. A former high school defensive back, Logan is solid enough in coverage to easily be seen as three-down ‘backer in New England. Looked the part in the Senior Bowl. Wilson should immediately help on special-teams and could see the field early on defense, potentially allowing the Pats to use Dont’a Hightower more as a pass-rusher.
Logan Wilson- 6’2 240 Senior. Converted DB with unbelievable IQ in all facets of the game. Leader, patient, and an absolute stud. Projecting him in the late 3rd to late 4th round range pic.twitter.com/BDrn1Fkw0y
— Chris Mallee (@mallee_chris_24) March 21, 2020
5-27 (172) • Anthony Gordon • QB • Washington State • 6-2 / 210 LBS
Armed with a compact, crisp release and solid presence in the pocket, the Patriots add some competition to the quarterback room by selecting Gordon out of Washington State. Showing adequate arm-strength and good anticipation, Anthony threw for 5,579 yards and 48 touchdowns in his one year as a starter for the Cougars. With the limited starting experience added to the fact that he’s coming from an air raid offense, it’s not likely that Gordon will see the field early, but he has the skill-set and intelligence to develop into a solid NFL starter.
Washington State QB Anthony Gordon Highlights
Gordon broke many Pac-12 records in his historic 2019 season. He threw for 5,579 yards & 48 touchdowns #GoCougs
— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) January 15, 2020
6-16 (195) • Trey Adams • OT • Washington • 6-8 / 306 LBS
Knee and back injuries have significantly dropped the draft stock of Adams, who was widely viewed as a potential day-one pick after his 2017 season. If indeed he does fall this far, the Patriots will get a mammoth-sized and technically proficient edge protector. The injuries seem to have robbed Trey of some of his strength and movement skills, though New England would be more than happy to take a chance on him to see if he can regain his early form.
6-25 (204) • Myles Dorn • S • North Carolina • 6-2 / 205 LBS
The Patriots will look to get younger at the Safety position with Dorn, who played both the free and strong safety spots for the Tar Heels. A solid tackler who can contribute on special teams while learning from Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung.
6-33 (212-Compensatory) • Francis Bernard • LB • UTAH • 6-1 / 230 LBS
Bernard gives New England another linebacker with great instincts who can play on special teams. Solid tackler with good zone coverage skills.
6-34 (213-Compensatory) • Myles Bryant • CB • Washington • 5-9 / 185 LBS
Though better at zone coverage than man, Myles bring solid value as a blitzer out of the slot. The Patriots grab a physical and explosive player who can stick around in the sub-package and as a special-teamer.
7-16 (230-Via ATL) • Rodrigo Blakenship • K • Georgia • 6-1 / 185 LBS
Using the pick acquired from Atlanta in the Mohamed Sanu deal, New England selects the best kicker in college out of Georgia. A four-year starter who converted 82.5% of his career field goal attempts for the Bulldogs, Blakenship will compete with Nick Folk to replace the recently released Stephen Gostkowski.
7-27 (241-Via SEA) • Mike Panasiuk • DT • Michigan State • 6-4 / 300 LBS
Despite waiting until their final pick to address the defensive line, the Patriots still find a solid run-stuffer who can be a two-down rotational player.
Let me know your thoughts!