I was lucky enough to attend the annual New England Patriots Draft Preview Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Bob Socci, Pats radio play by play guy hosted a panel including Mike Reiss and Field Yates of ESPN Boston, Todd McShay of ESPN and Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston.
At the end of the day, nobody “knows” what the mysterious Bill Belichick and the Pats brass will do on NFL draft weekend. But I wanted to share a few takeaways from the hour long session that you might keep in the back of your mind.
Remember right now New England has two first round picks, two second round picks, and five of the top ninety five picks overall. This is rare for New England to have this many top picks, and if history is any indicator, some of these picks could be traded.
If they use the #23 and #31picks, it will mirror 2004 when they selected Vince Wilfork at #21 and Benjamin Watson at #32.
The consensus of the panel of media folks is that if the Pats keep the picks, one of the first two will be used for selecting a Quarterback. They will be looking for a player who is “accurate” and a good "decision maker.” Lamar Jackson from Louisville could be a guy they like.
If they don’t take a signal caller high, look for them to use a lower second round pick on a quarterback a little less known such as Kyle Lauletta from Richmond or Luke Falk from Washington State. Falk has reportedly modeled his entire game after Tom Brady.
Tom E. Curran suggests the Pats current biggest need is defense, specifically the front seven. Josey Jewell of Iowa is a linebacker who is a good ol Iowa Farm boy. He is fast and a good coverage linebacker.
The Patriots are always in the market for a tight end. With Gronk pondering retirement this could be a good year to draft someone such as Dallas Goedert South Dakota State. Strong guy who can catch and likes to block.
A panelist noted that it is the deepest running back class in 10 years. The Pats don’t typically draft running backs with James White in 2014 being a recent exception. RB Jaheim Hines from NC State could be a fourth or firth round pick for the Pats.