The New England Patriots will have a whopping 12 picks in April’s NFL Draft. There are a number of spots for the Patriots to fill and several positions have question marks because of free agency. Chief among them is the quarterback position with the uncertainty around Tom Brady.
In the next week, we’ll have a better idea about the holes the Pats need to fill in the draft once teams start to talk to free agents. For now, here is a look at all of the picks the Pats will have in the draft including four compensatory selections awarded on Tuesday.
1st rd: 23rd
3rd rd: 87th
3rd rd: 98th (comp)
3rd rd: 100th (comp)
4th rd: 125th (via CHI)
6th rd: 198th (via HOU)
6th rd: 207th (via DEN)
6th rd: 212th (comp)
6th rd: 213th (comp)
7th rd: 233rd (via SEA)
7th rd: 238th (via ATL)
7th rd: 244th (via PHI)
With one of those picks, you’d have to believe the Patriots look to draft a QB. With Brady’s situation up in the air and the unproven Jarrett Stidham as the man in a position to step in, the most important position in the sport is an obvious need. Even if Brady returns, the Pats have to draft what they hope could be the future Hall-of-Famer’s eventual successor.
Whether that selection takes place in the first round where a player like Jacob Eason from Washington would seemingly be available, or it happens with one of three third-round picks remains to be seen.
Another position of need is WR and TE. After years of stability at tight end with Rob Gronkowski, this is now an area of opportunity for New England. There has been talk of trading for a veteran to supply the offense some production in the passing game, but there are some intriguing prospects who might pique the Pats’ interest.
Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam is one of the most athletic tight ends in the draft. The 6’5″ 258-pounder is raw having only moved to the United States from Nigeria when he was 19 years old, but he flashed 4.49 speed at the NFL Combine.
Athletically, he is reminiscent of Vernon Davis, and with the right tutelage, he has the physical skills to perhaps blossom into something special. At the moment, some draft prognosticators project him to be selected in the middle rounds which means the Patriots figure to have an opportunity to draft him with one of four picks from the third and fourth rounds.
With so many picks and several positions of need, the Pats could go a number of directions. However, their QB situation will likely dictate whether the team is remaining in win-now mode or looking to the future.