Before the New England Patriots begin to craft their roster for the upcoming season, the team needs to address its needs ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Patriots hold 12 selections in the draft, including the 23rd pick in the first round. With a variety of needs at several different positions, New England can go in a few different directions with their first pick.
That all depends, however, on whether a couple of key free agents decide to stay or sign elsewhere. If Tom Brady doesn’t resign, the Patriots may choose to use that pick on one of the several quarterbacks projected in the top 25 picks. Or perhaps a wide receiver to add weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal. There’s also a need at tight end which wasn’t addressed in 2019 as well as a growing void at the pass-rushing positions.
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Whathever Bill Belichick and the Patriots personnel department decides to do, New England could get a real playmaker for next season. Here’s what the experts are saying.
This interesting possibility for the Patriots to explore. Tom Brady’s return isn’t guaranteed and even then he wouldn’t have long left to play. Fromm had a slightly down year at Georgia after a pair of strong seasons as a freshman and a sophomore. His development in the Patriots system would be beneficial to his career and it may be a perfect match for Belichick and company.
- Last Year: WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State — Right position, wrong player.
The Patriots did struggle offensively last year, a testament to its revolving door at receiver. Rookie N’Keal Harry, a first-rounder last year, didn’t live up to the preseason hype while Julian Edelman was injured and Mohamed Sanu underwhelmed. Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon all left during the season. Bringing in a guy like Higgins, who caught 27 touchdowns in his college career and is known to be a red-zone weapon.
- Last Year: DB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt — The Patriots did pick Williams but in the second round.
Daniel Jeremiah has an interesting thought: the Patriots have aging safeties Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon with free agent Devin McCourty also on the backside of his career. Adding someone like Delpit, an athletic defensive back with an edge of physicality, could help the Patriots’ defense continue to show its strength against the pass.
- Last Year: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma — He ended going first overall, and the Pats took Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round.
The Patriots love their Alabama pass rushers, like Dont’a Hightower. With Hightower having just one more year left on his current contract, the Patriots are looking for potential replacements. Lewis could also help replace Jamie Collins or Kyle Van Noy should one or both leave in free agency. He showed his rushing ability with 16 QB hits, 6.0 sacks, and 11.5 tackles for loss.
- Last Year: WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State — Only had 127 receiving yards as a rookie.
The Patriots still need to fill the gap at tight end, especially now that Ben Watson officially retired. The main need is a tight end who can block but also run diverse receiving routes. New England would get just that in Kmet who had six touchdowns and 515 receiving yards last season.
- Last Year: QB Will Grier, West Virginia — Wasn’t drafted until the third round.
The Patriots have been linked with quarterbacks throughout the draft season and with Belichick making the trip to the Senior Bowl where Love is playing, it may be a chance for the Patriots to look into one of this year’s most interesting prospects.
- Last Year: TE Noah Fant, Iowa — The Patriots did need a tight end but never drafted one.
Another one for Kmet, who would really fill a need for the Patriots.
- Last Year: CB Byron Murphy, Washington — New England picked Joejuan Williams 13 selections after.
Another one for Love as quarterback has been a popular position for the Patriots to consider.
- Last Year: TE Noah Fant, Iowa — Would have been nice.