Most notably, but perhaps not the one that will be most successful, is the first round, No. 15 selection overall. Many will expect to see the Patriots draft their quarterback of the future with that selection.
However, there would appear to be a realistic scenario where all of the top players at that position will be off the board. The Patriots may instead need to draft a quarterback in the later rounds that they can develop. There’s also a chance the team could elect to trade up to grab the player they consider to be one of the elite prospects at the position.
In any case, it would appear New England has the necessary assets to set themselves up for future success.
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All 7 of the Patriots’ Locked-In Draft Picks
Here is a look at the confirmed draft picks the Patriots have for the April NFL Draft.
- Round 1, Pick 15 (15th overall)
- Round 2, Pick 14 (46th overall)
- Round 4, Pick 15 (111th overall)
- Round 5, Pick 14 (142nd overall)
- Round 6, Pick 11 (171st overall via Cowboys)
- Round 6, Pick 13 (173rd overall)
- Round 7, Pick 15 (207th overall)
According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, the Patriots should be receiving compensatory picks for losing Tom Brady, Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins in free agency. By his projections, Brady’s exit should generate a third-round pick, while Collins and Van Noy’s exodus will produce a pair of 4th-round selections.
Zierlein offered this explanation for his projections:
The formula is very straightforward here, with the Patriots losing five qualifiers and collecting two free agents with very modest contracts to cancel out the lower-end free agents. The contracts for Brady and Van Noy will clearly garner a third-round pick and a fourth-rounder, respectively, while Collins is likely to bring in a fourth.
To some, a 3rd and 2 4th-rounders might not sound like much, but when you consider the Patriots didn’t have a 3rd-round pick in the draft, thanks to the penalty the organization paid for filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during the 2019 season, the value becomes a bit clearer.
The compensatory pick could replace that lost selection, and the 2 additional 4th-rounders would give them a total of 3 in that round.
With 4 picks between the 3rd and 4th rounds, and their No. 15 pick overall, the Patriots would be in a position to offer a team an attractive trade package if they were interested in trading up to draft the right quarterback.
The Biggest Needs
If the Patriots elect to bring Cam Newton back at quarterback, which wouldn’t be the worst decision in the world if they’re committed to bringing in more weapons in the passing game, New England doesn’t need to draft a signal-caller in the first round.
They could do as Pats Pulpit’s Brian M. Hines advised and target a guy like Georgia’s Jamie Newman. He’s a quality prospect who likely needs some time to gain experience in a pro system before he’s ready to take the reins. If the Patriots go that route, they have more picks to address the other areas of their team that are in need.
Wide receiver, tight end, linebacker, and edge rusher are all far more immediate needs than quarterback, and I’d expect the Patriots to look to shore up those areas with draft picks and in free agency.
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