The NFL mock draft season is here, and it’s a great time for New England Patriots fans to look over these predictions to see which players the team may end up taking.
It’s a transitional phase from the results of the previous season and the beginning of the next. And after the Patriots were blown out by the Buffalo Bills in humiliating fashion in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, it couldn’t come soon enough.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to ruminate over these mock drafts and take a look at a couple of projections for the home team, our beloved New England Patriots.
The New England Patriots and mock drafts
The NFL draft is an inexact art, not a science, although statistical analysts will seek to make it so. Despite these analysts best efforts, they typically have a tough time accurately forecasting the future of any particular player eligible for the draft. They also struggle to predict when these players will come off the board.
Mock drafts, for those who don’t closely follow the offseason workings of their favorite teams, are an integral part of the offseason experience. This space has been clear that it feels championships are molded in the offseason when player acquisitions are made. Thus, the draft and the speculation surrounding it are very interesting to some folks like myself.
Frankly, the whole mock draft exercise is largely an exercise in futility. Other than the first six or seven picks in any year’s draft, prognosticators have little ability to predict when a specific player will get drafted. Despite the degree of difficult associated with these mock drafts and predictions, it’s a lot of fun to analyze and see which players may end up going to certain teams.
For the New England Patriots, predicting their draft strategy is a complete exercise in futility. At least it was until the 2021 draft. After missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade, owner Robert Kraft laid down the law about wanting a good draft and a new quarterback around whom the team could be built.
Bill Belichick, the head honcho in all things football, got the message and obliged. He ostensibly started listening to his personnel men, who were led by current Las Vegas Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler. The result was the best draft in quite awhile for the team with Mac Jones, Christian Barmore, and Rhamondre Stevenson all coming aboard.
With Ziegler out of the picture, Matt Groh is the team’s new Director of Player Personnel, and this will be his first draft in the role. Groh will have a lot of help (this isn’t exactly Belichick’s first rodeo) but it’s clear a good draft for the second straight year would go a long way in chasing down the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
Who some experts think the New England Patriots will draft this year
Taking a look at a few mock drafts, let’s see who a few experts project the New England Patriots will take with the 21st pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
One of walterfootball.com’s mock drafts has the Patriots taking Chris Olave, a top wide receiver from Ohio State. This space has advocated an offensive tackle and wide receiver in the first two rounds and Olave would fit very nicely, both with that wish and the Patriots offense.
"Lloyd tallied 111 total tackles, six passes defensed and career highs with seven sacks and four interceptions in 14 games for Utah last season."
This space has cautioned against New England’s taking a linebacker or cornerback in the top two rounds because of their poor past history in so doing. Yet, if Lloyd pans out, he’d be a terrific addition. That’s a big if though.
Profootballnetwork.com projects another smallish linebacker, Nakobe Dean from the FBS Champion Georgia Bulldogs to the Patriots at pick #21. The need is certainly there at linebacker and cornerback for New England, especially if they let Dont’a Hightower and J.C. Jackson leave in free agency, so it’s hard to argue with going in either direction.
Yet, the choice in this space in the first two rounds would still be an offensive tackle and a top wide receiver. Shoring up those two positions would add to an offense that could explode in 2022 with those key additions.
It’s also been suggested as an option to trade down in the first round or trade marginal players to secure additional picks since the Patriots have a meager six picks in the draft at present.
So that’s a quick look at the draft and a few mock drafts for the New England Patriots in the 2022 first round. Who would you mock to the Patriots with their first pick?