The New England Patriots have traditionally done well to identify top-tier talent at certain positions during the NFL Draft. With the college football season set to wrap up on Monday with the National Championship between LSU and Clemson, the game will serve as one of the last chances to scout the nation’s top prospects.
For the Patriots, some of their draft needs include wide receiver, tight end, pass rusher, and offensive line. With several of the country’s best at these respective positions taking the field tonight, here’s who the Patriots could be keeping tabs on for April’s draft.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
WR Tee Higgins, Clemson
If LSU receiver Justin Jefferson is still available when the Patriots pick at 23, they might fancy taking him over Higgins. But in all likelihood, Higgins would be the best available receiver for the Patriots.
It would be surprising for the Patriots to select a receiver in two straight first rounds, but New England needs some offensive weapons to catch passes from whoever will be the quarterback. Even if it is Brady, dedicating a pair of first-round picks in consecutive years to receivers could show the quarterback that New England is dedicated to putting the right pieces around him.
Higgins would be the deep threat New England is sorely lacking. At 6-foot-4 and with a 40-time of 4.55 seconds, he has 56 catches for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns through 2019 and that talent is bound to translate at the NFL level.
TE Stephen Sullivan, LSU
The Patriots finished last in tight end target percentage during the 2019 season and were sorely missing production from someone like Rob Gronkowski. New England failed to address the tight end spot in last year’s draft.
But with this year’s tight end class representing a deeper group, Sullivan could be a mid-round steal for New England. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Sullivan has the length to make catches, has shown run-blocking ability, and will play in the Senior Bowl this season.
New England has a ton of mid-round picks and may use one on Sullivan, projected to be taken between rounds 4-6.
OL Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson
The Patriots could have some holes to fill on the offensive line for next season. With left guard Joe Thuney and interior lineman Ted Karras both likely to depart in free agency, bringing in someone like Anchrum with a late-round pick could be valuable.
Anchrum has mainly played right tackle for the better part of the last two seasons, but his size and athleticism make him a better fit at the guard position. He could also play center if needed. With New England looking to rebuild its offensive line with young players, Anchrum fits the bill for a traditional Patriots lineman.
LB Michael Divinity, LSU
Another mid-round prospect, Divinity’s numbers took a hit this season with a pair of suspensions that cost him valuable reps in his final college season. Playing in just five games and serving a suspension in eight games, Divinity still produced with 22 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble.
He hasn’t played since late October, so Monday’s title game has big implications on Divinity to make an impression on NFL scouts. His stock may dip given his off-field problems, meaning the Patriots may be able to wait around a little before taking him with a late-third or early fourth-round pick.
A few other players to watch:
- DT Rashard Lawrence, LSU
- OL John Simpson, Clemson
- OL Damien Lewis, LSU
- TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU