By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Thanks to numerous reports, we know more than half of the prospects who met with the Patriots ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft. One or more of them could be calling Foxboro home this weekend.
Realistically, the Pats will select maybe one or two of the prospects listed below. Last year they met privately with Florida cornerback Duke Dawson, whom they drafted with the 57th overall pick in 2018. They also met with two eventual sixth-round picks, Miami receiver Braxton Berrios and Arizona State linebacker Christian Sam. Top-30 visits aren't the best predictor, but it's not impossible for one of these names to end up a Patriot.
Unless it's all a giant smokescreen, the Patriots' top-30 visits suggest a focus on offense in the 2019 draft class. Receivers, tight ends, and even quarterbacks litter the list. Considering the relatively barren future of the cupboard at those positions - and that many of the best players in their range play those positions - it should surprise no one if they go the offensive route early. Even if it's for a QB.
Here's a quick list of the reported top-30 visits for NFL Draft prospects with the Patriots. Only 20 are known publicly, based on the reporting.
|Johnathan Abram||S||Mississippi State||Tom Pelissero|
|Ben Banogu||DE||TCU||Justin M|
|Miles Boykin||WR||Notre Dame||Jared Tokarz|
|A.J. Brown||WR||Ole Miss||James Palmer|
|Yodny Cajuste||OL||West Virginia||Ian Rapoport|
|Blake Cashman||LB||Minnesota||Darren Wolfson|
|Noah Fant||TE||Iowa||Tom Pelissero|
|Will Grier||QB||West Virginia||Ian Rapoport|
|Mecole Hardman||WR||Georgia||Billy Marshall|
|N'Keal Harry||WR||Arizona State||Mike Garafolo|
|Jalen Hurd||WR||Baylor||Mike Reiss|
|Gary Jennings||WR||West Virginia||Aaron Wilson|
|Daniel Jones||QB||Duke||Ian Rapoport|
|Kingsley Keke||DT||Texas A&M||Aaron Wilson|
|Kaleb McGary||OL||Wasington||Aaron Wilson|
|Deebo Samuel||WR||South Carolina||Tom Pelissero|
|Jace Sternberger||TE||Texas A&M||Jared Tokarz|
|Jarrett Stidham||QB||Auburn||Tom Pelissero|
|Clayton Thorson||QB||Northwestern||Tom Pelissero|
|Joejuan Williams||CB||Vanderbilt||Jon Ledyard|
A handful of these names could be off the board by pick No. 32. If Bill Belichick truly covets the likes of Iowa tight end Noah Fant, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, or Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram, he may need to move up a few spots.
But there are plenty of prospects in here who are more likely to land in the second round. So you can peg guys like South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel, Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger, or Washington offensive lineman Kaleb McGary as possibilities to be the next Dawson.
And even still! This list could be a harbinger of their picks in the latter half of the NFL Draft. West Virginia receiver Gary Jennings, Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson, and Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman fit that mold.
There are 10 top-30 visits that remain unknown publicly. So it's fair to expect the unexpected, too. But keep all these names in mind ahead of the NFL Draft this weekend.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].