What to expect from the Patriots in this year’s NFL Draft
Always expect the unexpected when it comes to the Patriots and the NFL Draft which begins on Thursday. Everyone thought the Patriots were going to select Lamar Jackson in the first round last year and that didn’t happen. They didn’t select a quarterback until the seventh round in Danny Etling, who ended up on the practice squad. Realistically they probably won’t select a quarterback in the first two rounds with Brady around for another three years. Rumors suggest it’s a stronger quarterback draft next year so that might be the year they select one. Belichick always pulls something people weren’t expecting, so expect that this year.
Don’t expect them to select a quarterback in the early rounds
The Patriots need help on defense and they also need a Tight End. However, I don’t see them selecting a Tight End in the first round. Instead I see them selecting Jerry Tillery, a defensive lineman out of Notre Dame, at pick number 32. In 2017 Tillery started 13 games and collected nine tackles for losses and 4.5 sacks. He was also named AP second-team All American last season as a senior. The Patriots second pick, number 56, I’m going with Tight End Irv Smith out of Alabama. He finished last season with 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
At the wide receiver position, they don’t usually select a Wide Receiver early in the draft. They do need one though, as Brady’s only consistent target on the depth chart right now is Julian Edelman. Demaryius Thomas is coming off an injury, and I want to see how he does in a game before making any assumptions as to what type of impact he’ll bring. Also, Josh Gordon is unreliable, and they have a bunch of guys that nobody’s heard of. Parris Campbell out of Ohio State could be a perfect match for the Patriots. Campbell was pretty reliable for Ohio State and appeared in 14 games last season. He recorded 90 receptions for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns. He could add value to the Patriots receiving core, as Brady is 42 in August and will need reliable guys at the position.
If the Patriots do select a quarterback it won’t be until late in the draft in my opinion. They have Danny Etling, who may or may not have improved from a year ago. We won’t know until the start of training camp and the preseason. In order to find the next Jimmy Garoppolo, they may have to wait until next year. Overall, though, whatever Belichick does seems to be right. And they make the Super Bowl year after year.