New England Patriots: 5 players the team should take with No. 21 overall pick

Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. #23 of the Clemson Tigers (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots draft target No. 4: Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson

Cornerback is easily the New England Patriots top need heading into the draft. The problem is that many of the top rated corners are probably going to be off the board by the time New England is up to pick in the first round (which is part of the reason why I see them trading out of the first). However, one guy who is probably going to be around is Andrew Booth Jr., and he may be worth investing a first round pick in.

Booth is one of the most polarizing top prospects in the entire draft. Some experts have him getting picked right around the No. 20 pick range, which is perfect for the Pats. Others don’t have him going until midway through the second round. Either way, Booth has one of the highest ceilings of any cornerback in this draft, and Belichick could decide he’s going to be the face of the secondary moving forward.

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In a way, Booth reminds me a lot of the player he would be brought in to replace; J.C. Jackson. Both guys are roughly the same size and have great ball awareness, which leads to tons of pass breakups and interceptions. Booth plays bigger than his 6-0, 195 lb frame suggests, is physcial with receivers off the line, and is one of the fastest corners in his class.

The issue with Booth is that he is inexperienced. He only played 25 games in college with the Clemson Tigers, so he may struggle making the transition to the NFL. He’s also still very raw, as his coverage technique has a long way to go and his football intelligence isn’t what it should be for a potential lockdown corner.

Similar to Dean, New England may be able to trade back in the first round or early second round and still get Booth. He has tons of potential, but he may not be the most NFL ready corner available when New England is on the clock. If Belichick feels he can mold Booth into a top tier corner though, there’s no reason to be opposed to taking Booth a little early.