New England Patriots

L-R: TCU running back Kendre Miller, Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents, Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright (USA Today Images)

Welcome into Patriots Mock Draft Mailbag 2.0! For those of you unfamiliar with this exercise, it’s like a typical Patriots mailbag but instead of taking your questions, I review your mock drafts you submitted last week. Since the first Mock Draft Mailbag a couple of weeks ago the dust has really settled from free agency, so things are narrowing down in relation to the draft.

Also since the last Mock Draft Mailbag, PFF put their mock draft simulator behind a paywall. You guys were great in finding other ways to put together mock drafts. If anybody was hoping to contribute but couldn’t find a simulator, for next time try

Just like last time, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on certain picks or trades that stand out in each draft. If I don’t mention something from your draft, I may have mentioned the same player or a similar move somebody else also made. I got to as many drafts as possible – if yours didn’t make the cut we’ll be doing one more of these mailbags later this month.

That’s enough shop talk. Let’s get into some mocks…

Note: The way these tweets are displayed, some of the mocks are cropped. You’ll have to open them in Twitter to see the full draft.

  • Stewart gets us started here with what would be a strong draft. The Patriots may rather move directly down than make two trades, but picking up top 100 picks is in line with the way they’ve operated in the past. Jordan Battle and K.J. Henry are both prototypical Patriots. Both are also regarded as strong leaders, and could be future standout voices on the defense – something the team might be looking for following Devin McCourty’s departure.

    The top two picks would fill the Patriots’ two biggest needs with high-upside players. Solid and realistic. As Stewart notes in his tweet Darnell Washington probably doesn’t fall to 53, but Tucker Kraft or even Sam LaPorta would make sense there.

    If there’s one knock with this class for me it’s the Jonathan Mingo pick. Mingo is a big slot receiver, who would be a bit redundant with JuJu Smith-Schuster. At that position, especially if they’re going to wait to make a pick, the Patriots might be looking for speed more than size. A guy like Jayden Reed from Michigan State or Trey Palmer from Nebraska might be more in line.

  • This is a lot of trades to break down, so let’s just focus on the players. Moving up to take Jahmyr Gibbs in the second round does feel like a possibility if the Patriots’ go with a true ‘best player available’ mentality, especially given Bill O’Brien’s familiarity.

    A couple of thoughts on the other two Alabama players Brian selected here. Eli Ricks transferred from LSU, and was supposed to be a major playmaker for the Tide. Yet 2022 proved to be more of an adjustment year than expected. The Patriots should get a good idea from O’Brien when happened behind the scenes with him.

    As for Steen, I’ve need a lot of people suggest taking him in the top 100 would be a ‘reach’ or ‘overdraft.’ It’s important to remember that draft position year-to-year is relative, and in a class lacking tackle depth some players might get taken higher by teams looking to ensure they fill positional needs. After Steen the talent at the position drops off deeply in this class, so he should go higher than expected.

  • Glad to see a Darnell Wright pick make its way into the mailbag. Most of the first-round trade-back or second-round trade-up drafts targeting a tackle with that pick have gone with Dawand Jones, but Wright might actually make more sense for the Patriots. He’s expected to go in the same range in Jones, but he’s a true swing tackle with significant experience on both the left and right sides. Given the Patriots have questions at both tackle spots, they may value that versatility more.

    Further down this draft, Jose Ramirez is a player Patriots fans may want to get familiar with. He had a very productive three-year career at Eastern Michigan after transferring from Arizona, and has a lot of the intangibles the Patriots look for.

  • We talked above about the Patriots potentially looking to add speed and athleticism to their offense, and they certainly do so with their third and fourth picks in this draft. Trey Palmer ran the fourth-fastest 40 at the Combine, and the fastest among wide receivers at 4.33 seconds, and Zack Kutnz was top three in just about every testing category at the tight end position at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds.

    The Patriots then make two more skill position additions later down at picks 187 and 192. Deuce Vaughn is a highly-skilled passing-down back, who would be a lock to be a top 100 pick if not for his 5-foot-5, 179-pound build that will give some teams pause. Rakim Jarrett is a former five-star recruit whose production at Maryland isn’t a true reflection of his natural ability.

    In the middle, the Patriots mix in a center in Ricky Stromberg. While they’re always looking at linemen, finding a player with at least some guard flexibility might make more sense there. David Andrews is still under contract for multiple years, with James Ferentz as his backup and Kody Russey seemingly being a player they like. Meanwhile, Michael Onwenu is still in a contract year.

  • Although Nick notes in his tweet he may have drafted some players where they won’t still be available, I think he did a good job of respecting the board here. His selections certainly represent a slip for some players, but getting Anthony Bradford (who I like for the Patriots because of his three-position versatility) at 245 is the only one I’d call unrealistic.

    Byron Young was a selection in my last Patriots mock draft, and a guy who profiles as a player they’d target. Drafting edge rushers on Day 2 was pretty regular trend until last year, but with Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings in contract years, don’t be surprised if it comes back.

    Jartavius Martin from Illinois is another player who makes a lot of sense in New England. He’s got significant experience playing multiple positions in the secondary including slot corner and free safety. If the Patriots’ plan is to rotate and use disguises heavily in their coverage plans, he’d fit well in that system. There’s also a coaching connection with him – current Illinois coach Bret Bielema is a former Patriots assistant.

  • Good job by Jeff, as he notes in his tweet, of giving us a realistic mock draft that ‘respects the board.’ The only player that might be out of place in Cameron Latu, although he is a logical Patriots draft target given their need at tight end and his connection to Bill O’Brien at Alabama. A converted defensive end, Latu isn’t the most athletic player but is a smart route runner and strong after the catch. He has the physical profile of a blocker, and that should become a ‘plus’ element of his game once he refines his technique.

    I also like his Cedric Tillman selection. It’s not a very strong draft for receivers as a whole, but boundary receivers in particular. That being said, at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds Tillman checks all the boxes of a big-body, contested-catch wide receiver. He could push DeVante Parker for the ‘X’ role this year, and should be able to assume the role next year when Parker’s contract expires.

    Finally on this one, it may not seem like a huge jump but the Steelers are a team to watch at 17 if the Patriots are going to trade down. Pittsburgh is generally aggressive in the draft, and the Patriots could accrue an extra asset without moving down significantly for a second year in a row.

  • Looks like Tom closely followed our Shrine Bowl coverage! Zay Flowers, Moro Ojomo, Luke Haggard, Brenton Cox Jr., and Michael Turk were all standout players in Las Vegas.

    Cox in particular is an interesting player. Multiple times, he got one-on-one coaching from the Patriots’ staff during their week together. He’s a very talented player, but carries some baggage after being dismissed from two different programs at Georgia and Florida. If his interviews checked out behind the scenes – and the Patriots have spent more time with him than any team by virtue of coaching him at the Shrine Bowl – he’s definitely the kind of player they’d target.

  • I’ve got to say, I don’t see this trade at the top happening for a number of reasons. Why would the Colts pass on a prospect of Richardson’s character for a quarterback with only two years left on his rookie deal, and coming off a season where he regressed? Even if the Patriots wanted to move into a spot where they could select Richardson – which seems unlikely after Robert Kraft’s effusive praise of Jones last week at the Owners’ meetings –  it would cost the Patriots a lot more than what they’re giving up here, just going off historical context. To move from 20th to seventh last year, the Giants had to give up two firsts and two fourths. To move up from 12th to third the year before, the 49ers had to give up two firsts and a third.

  • This is an interesting Jerry Jeudy trade theory from Joey. The reports have been that the Broncos want a first round pick or a second round pick and a player. If the Patriots were to go the second-round route, guys like Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker have often been suggested as players. But would Denver trade a receiver for another receiver? Uche gives them something different, and given he’s in a contract year allows the Patriots to get something significant in return for him if he plans on testing free agency next spring.

    The tweak to the draft I’d then make it taking an edge rusher a little higher. K.J. Henry could be that guy, but a player in the top 100 who is more NFL-ready may make more sense.

  • We all know the Patriots have a history of ‘over-drafting’ defensive backs – with mixed results. If they’re going to make that move again this year, Nic Jones would make sense as the player. A projected Day 3 pick, Jones is a system fit as a bigger press-man cornerback who was one of the best players on the field at the Shrine Bowl.

    Mo Diabate is another Shrine Bowl player that seems like a fit for the Patriots. A high-IQ, athletic middle linebacker, he’d give them another player to try off the ball on passing downs along with Raekwon McMillan and Mack Wilson.

    Nick also has the Patriots taking Kendre Miller early on Day 3. The Patriots met with Miller last week, which isn’t surprising. Miller plays like Rhamondre Stevenson did when he was coming out of Oklahoma, and would make sense as a backup/replacement for Damien Harris. This is almost the same spot the Patriots took Stevenson too (120th in 2021).

  • I’m not sure if Lou got any future assets in these trades, but if he picked up a future first round pick I like the trades themselves. The picks are interesting. He certainly took talented players (although Bijan Robinson falling to 38 is pretty unlikely) but it’s tough to see how they all fit. With their top 100 picks, the Patriots need players who can contribute right away in 2023. Robinson will be behind Rhamondre Stevenson, Dalton Kincaid behind Hunter Henry, and Zack Kuntz behind Henry and Kincaid. If Darnell Washington was on the board at 47, that could work better.

    As for the other two top 100 picks, they both make more sense for the Patriots. Noah Sewell would give the Patriots another athletic linebacker who looks to be ready for the league, and could fill a role they’ve been trying to fill for multiple seasons now. In McClendon, the Patriots would get a multi-positional offensive lineman from a successful program, who should compete for the starting right tackle job maybe not on Day 1, but certainly in Year 1.

  • Another logical trade-back scenario for the Patriots. The Lions have a ton of draft capital with five top 100 picks, so they’re in a position to deal.

    The Jerry Jeudy trade here is a little less realistic. Could the asking price come down from a first-round pick? Sure. But all the way to just a third seems like a stretch for a team that doesn’t have much incentive to make the deal outside of adding draft capital. If Jeudy leaves as a free agent in two years, they’d likely get a third-round pick back as a comp pick anyway.

  • So, I’m not sure Zay Flowers makes it to the 27th overall pick. With wide receivers at a premium, he seems more like a top 20 pick.

    That being said, overall I think Eric did a great job here. We’ve already discussed the potential need for an edge defender and the Patriots’ history of taking such players on Day 2. Adetomiwa Adebawore is a system fit for the Patriots as a smart, versatile pass rusher who tested incredibly well at the Combine. That pick is followed by Emmanuel Forbes, a bigger ball-hawking cornerback who the Patriots have met with twice.

    I’d be curious to know who else was on the board at 27. If Darnell Wright or Anton Harrison were there, that could be the tackle pick, then 91 could be used on a player like Jayden Reed who plays a similar style to Flowers, but is more of a project.

    I want to highlight a couple of Eric’s later picks too. Terell Smith is another big cornerback, but he’s much more physical than Forbes. While he doesn’t have the same on-ball production, he had a strong showing at the Shrine Bowl. Bumper Pool is another name for Patriots fans to know – Arkansas’ all-time leading tackler, he’s more of an old-school, down-hill linebacker. He could back up Ja’Whaun Bentley while being a key special teams contributor.

  • Ben has a lot going on here. We’ll start with his Jerry Jeudy trade. One way around the Broncos’ ask of a first-round pick could be offering multiple seconds, but that’s still contingent on the price coming down a bit. The Patriots may not get any other picks back, but this deal is closer to a possibility.

    As for the three running backs – this is really only in play if the Patriots don’t believe in what they saw from either Pierre Strong or Kevin Harris last year. That being said, all three picks individually make sense for the Patriots. If they want to invest heavily in replacing Damien Harris as a bowling ball back behind Rhamondre Stevenson, Charbonnet would be that guy. We’ve already discussed Vaughn, and Keaton Mitchell is an explosive ball carrier who also returns kicks, so he adds some special teams value on Day 3.

    The Patriots may see Andre Carter as a value pick on Day 3, but he struggled both at the Senior Bowl and Combine, especially at setting the edge. Right now, he doesn’t look like a Patriots scheme fit.

    Ronnie Hickman, on the other hand, it a total Patriots fit. A multi-positional defensive back who is a good tackler and can cover tight ends, there would certainly be a place for him in the Patriots’ defensive rotation.

    Finally, Ben has the Patriots adding a couple of red zone threats late in Davis Allen and Justin Shorter. Individually both players make a lot of sense for the Patriots as big targets on the goal line. Would they double dip at addressing that need? Maybe if they believe Allen has room to improve as a blocker, which would expand his game between the 20s.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 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

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