New England Patriots

Mar 3, 2019; Indianapolis, IN: A wide angle general view of the linebackers going through their workout drills during the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
  • As the NFL Scouting Combine commences this week from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, draft hopefuls prepare to put their abilities on full display for pro teams.

    The Patriots have the 21st overall pick in the draft and will begin to vet the next group of young talent this week. Workouts will feature potential high draft picks at key positions of need for the Pats, including wide receiver, cornerback, and linebacker.

    Here are five projected first-round picks to watch at the 2022 NFL Combine, any of whom would seem like good fits for the Patriots…

  • Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

    COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs for a touchdown after making a catch in the fourth quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on November 06, 2021 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    The 5-foot-11 receiver steadily progressed in each of his four seasons at State College. He broke out in his senior year, catching 91 balls for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns. As the Patriots look to surround Mac Jones with greater targets on the outside, Dotson is a proven playmaker from a power five school with a solid release off of the line of scrimmage.

    Dotson’s ability to make dynamic plays in the punt return game also offers intriguing versatility for Bill Belichick.

  • Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa

    AMES, IA – SEPTEMBER 4: Head coach Mark Farley of the Northern Iowa Panthers co0aches offensive lineman Trevor Penning #70 of the Northern Iowa Panthers on the sidelines in the first half of play against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium on September 4, 2021 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

    With Trent Brown and Ted Karras set to become free agents, New England could look to add top-end talent to the offensive line. Penning offers a large frame at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, which the Patriots tend to like. His NFL.com draft profile describes him as a tackle who can block with mobility and finish blocks with authority.

    Penning would add a strong presence to keep pass rushers off of Jones, and his ability to get up the field on screens fits well for the New England offense.

  • Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 31: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs prepares for the snap in the second quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Davis enters the draft as a centerpiece of an elite Georgia defense that captured the national championship this past season. The senior recorded five tackles for losses and two sacks in his senior season. According to his scouting report at NFL.com, Davis is not a particularly agile defender at 340 pounds, but he would make an immediate presence in the run defense to take away the middle of the line of scrimmage.

  • Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT – OCTOBER 16: Devin Lloyd #5 of the Utah Utes sacks Jayden Daniels #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

    The Patriots are in desperate need of playmakers and youth at linebacker, a position that got exposed down the stretch. Lloyd offers remarkable versatility after a monster 2021 season. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, Lloyd can make plays in all facets of the defense, based on his draft profile. He recorded 111 tackles with seven sacks and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Lloyd is an exceptional athlete that helps build back New England’s weakest position.

  • Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

    COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 27: Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. #23 of the Clemson Tigers makes an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver Josh Vann #6 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    Booth Jr. grew into his own under Dabo Swinney with his best season at Clemson coming last season. The junior recorded career highs in tackles, interceptions and passes defended. Booth Jr. is quick and plays the ball well in the air, according to his NFL.com scouting report.

    Considering the uncertainty of J.C. Jackson in New England, the Patriots should at least take a look at this capable corner.

    The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine runs from March 1-7 in Indianapolis, with televised workouts running Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. Go to NFL.com for the full schedule.