3 Prospects the Patriots Should Trade Up for in NFL Draft

The New England Patriots have their own picks in each round of the NFL Draft. They could package a few to trade up and target one of these prospects.
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Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB

If the Patriots decided to tackle the defensive side of the ball after drafting their quarterback, one of the first positions they would like to tackle is the cornerback.

The team has high expectations from Christian Gonzalez, who unfortunately missed most of his rookie season with an injury, and Jonathan Jones had another solid season. But, the depth behind those two is questionable and Jones is about to turn 31. How long he can sustain his level of play is a question mark.

Enter, Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama. It's hard to find a more complete package in a backfield defender than McKinstry. He is as versatile as they come, being able to play both outside and in the slot without missing any beat in any defensive scheme. He doesn't score off the charts in any athletic or physical measurement but he makes life hell for any wide receiver he is facing.

Having consistently improved under Nick Saban's defense, McKinstry has been one of the defensive leaders on the team, regularly communicating and directing his teammates. Over the past two seasons, he allowed a 66.4 QB rating when targeted, only allowing 48.7% completion last season. He received an overall grade of 88.8 on PFF in 2023.

One additional element he brings to the table is his special teams value. He has been impressive in the return game, averaging 11.9 yards per return in 35 attempts in the last two seasons.

McKinstry is likely gone by the end of the first round. The Patriots would have to send their second and third-round picks to move up and get him. And his plug-and-play ability might make him absolutely worth that.