By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots offseason picture became a little clearer on Sunday. With the conclusion of the NFL’s regular season, the first 18 picks (representing the 18 teams to miss the playoffs) of this year’s draft are now set. Thanks to their 7-9 record, New England will have the 15th selection on April 29.
Entering Sunday, the Patriots had the 14th pick, with 15th being the furthest they could fall. There was the potential to move as high as 10th, but that was eliminated with their 28-14 win over the Jets.
Players expected to be available in the Patriots’ range include quarterbacks Mac Jones and Kyle Trask, wide receiver Rashod Bateman, tight end Kyle Pitts, and linebacker Kwity Paye. The pick is worth 1050 points on the trade value chart.
Assuming they don’t move the pick, 15th would be the fourth-highest selection of the Bill Belichick era, and the highest since Jerod Mayo went 10th in 2008. Their other two top-half picks have been sixth overall in 2001 (Richard Seymour) 13th in 2003 (Ty Warren).
Predating Belichick, the team has picked 15th overall just once in their history, taking Illinois quarterback Tony Eason in 1983. Eason would go on to start 49 games over seven seasons in New England, posting a record of 28-21. He also helped the team reach Super Bowl XX in 1985. With a potential QB pick on the table, can the Patriots do better than Eason this time around?
Although the top of the draft is set, the full picture won’t be complete until the compensatory picks are released in late February/early March. The Patriots are set to be one of the top beneficiaries, and are expected to receive two additional third-round picks after losing Tom Brady and Kyle Van Noy in free agency last year.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.