Patriots’ Draft Day Preview – Part IV: Wild Card Trades
In Part I, which saw the Patriots trade back in the first round to 19th overall via Washington, New England grabbed the following players with their first five picks: 16th overall: CB Jaycee Horn (SC); 46th overall: WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss); 51st overall: QB Kellen Mond (A&M); 96th overall: LB Jamin Davis (KT); 122nd overall: T Brady Christensen (BYU).
In Part II, which saw the Pats stay at 15th overall, New England ended up with these first five selections: 16th overall: CB Jaycee Horn (SC); 46th overall: QB Kellen Mond (A&M); 96th overall: LB Jamin Davis (KT); 120th overall: DT Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA); 122nd overall: T Brady Christensen (BYU).
In Part III, which saw the Pats trade into the top-10 for a QB, New England selected: 8th overall: QB Justin Fields (OSU); 80th overall: LB Baron Browning (OSU); 122nd overall: T Brady Christensen (BYU); 139th overall: CB Benjamin St-Juste (MIN); 177th overall: Milton Williams (Louisiana Tech).
Part IV -
After months of endless anticipation, the 2021 NFL Draft is here! To celebrate, let’s take one final look at how the Patriots’ draft could go based on a number of different circumstances. For these exercises, we will use Pro Football Focus’s Mock Draft Simulator while controlling only the Patriots. - We will use the same picks for the other 31 teams for each of the four separate mock drafts. -
Who has any idea what is going on with Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers? Reports have ranged from the Niners wanting to keep him in the Bay Area for another year until whoever they pick at 3rd overall is ready to take the reins-to-the team is actively looking to move him by tonight’s draft. In the last 12 hours, we’ve seen the full spectrum as long-time Boston sports personality and commentator Dale Arnold tweeted that he was hearing the Patriots were working on a new contract with Jimmy G in order to execute the trade.
Now, reports this morning say San Fran has no plans to trade the QB unless “return value overwhelms,” while Adam Schefter reported the chances Garoppolo is dealt during the draft are “remote.”
Either way, for the purpose of this mock draft, we’re going to say Bill does bring his prodigal son home to Foxboro and then ships out an All-Pro to recoup the price paid for Jimmy G - Part IV: Jimmy G’s Homecoming
*Trade* - Patriots trade the 46th overall pick (2nd round) to San Francisco. San Francisco trades QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
*Trade* - Patriots trade Stephon Gilmore to Dallas. Dallas trades the 44th overall pick (2nd round).
Alright, let’s take inventory on what just went down. Basically in a reversal of the 2017 deal that sent Garoppolo out west, Belichick dealt New England’s second round pick to John Lynch for the 29-year-old quarterback. With QB under wraps between Garoppolo and Newton, that position is no longer one of need for the Patriots, unless a guy they liked were to fall into their lap in the later rounds. Bill wasn’t done dealing there, he then sent Gilmore to Dallas, who will pair the former-Defensive Player of the Year opposite Patrick Surtain II, who they drafted 9th overall. In return, Jerrah sent his 2nd rounder (44th overall) back to New England, which is fair that Gilmore would command a higher pick than Garoppolo on the market. While the move for Jimmy G furthers the “all-in” approach by Belichick this year, he could look to move up the draft board and acquire one of the top-receiving prospects as the “cherry on top” of the offense. Ultimately, however, I think Bill would find the price to be too much and decided to stick at #15. Now, let’s get to picking.
Here is how the first round has played out through picks 1-14:
- QB, Trevor Lawrence (JAX); 2. QB, Zach Wilson (NYJ); 3. QB, Trey Lance (SF); 4. TE, Kyle Pitts (ATL); 5. OT, Penei Sewell (CIN); 6. WR, Ja’Marr Chase (MIA); 7. WR, DeVonta Smith (DET); 8. WR, Jaylen Waddle (CAR); 9. LB, Micah Parsons (DEN); 10. CB, Patrick Surtain II (DAL); 11. T, Rashaun Slater (NYG); 12. QB, Justin Fields (PHI); 13. T, Christian Darrisaw (LAC); 14. EDGE, Kwitty Paye (MIN).
On the board - CB Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech); CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina); DT Christian Barmore (Alabama); EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami [FL]); LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame); S Travon Moehrig (TCU); T Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC).
Analysis: Right as he’s ready to fill the hole at CB left by the Gilmore trade, Bill gets a call from Chicago this time, who has their sights set on Mac Jones. Instead of finding an immediate replacement for Gilmore, Bill opts to slide back five spots and acquire a third round pick to bridge the gap between 46 and 96, resulting in the third trade of the night for the wheeling and dealing Patriots.
*Trade* - The Patriots trade the 15th overall pick and the 122nd overall pick (4th round) to Chicago. Chicago trades the 20th overall pick, the 83rd overall pick (3rd round) and a 2022 third round pick.
Now, let’s jump to 20th and see who is still on the board:
- CB Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), EDGE Jaelen Phillips (Miami [FL]); S - Trevon Moehrig (TCU); CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern); T Elijah Vera-Tucker (USC).
Analysis: The only difference from this scenario and Part I, when the Pats picked 19th after a trade with Washington, is that WR Rashod Bateman is no longer on the board, with the former-Golden Gopher going 19th overall to Washington. And with a top-corner still on the board, we’re dipping back in the South Carolina well for this pick…
“With the 20th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: CB Jaycee Horn, (South Carolina)”
For the third time in four tries, Horn is Bill’s man in the first round. A player many believe to be the second-highest rated cornerback in the draft, the 6’1” corner allowed an opponent QB rating of just 54.9 and had two interceptions in 2020 SEC play. Some project Horn as comparable to Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander at the NFL level. He can step into a Pats’ secondary now sans Gilmore and get immediate playing time.
Up next - 2nd round, Pick #44 -
On the board - QB Kellen Mond (Texas A&M); QB Davis Mills (Stanford); WR Elijah Moore (Ole Miss); T Walker Little (Stanford); T Dillon Radunz (North Dakota St.); S Elijah Molden (Washington); LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky); EDGE Ronnie Perkins (Oklahoma).
Analysis: Remember, QB is no longer a need thanks to the arrival of Jimmy G. With that position set, Bill can look to take the best player available throughout the remainder of the draft. In this spot, he chooses protection over flash.
“With the 44th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: T Walker Little, (Stanford)"
Analysis: Walker is a beast of a human at 6’7”/309lbs. The potential is there to be a mountain on the end of the offensive line. The redflags are there for all to see, though, as Little played just one game in 2019 before suffering a torn ACL. Little then opted out of Stanford’s 2020 season. Despite basically not playing for two years, the scouts still love this guy. PFF has the tackle as the 26th overall rated prospect in draft and that seems like a diamond in the rough that Bill would be salivating over.
Up next - 3rd round, Pick #83 -
On the board - DE Dayo Odeyingbo (Vanderbilt); LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky); S Jamar Johnson (Indiana); CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky); G Kendrick Green (Illinois); CB Tay Gowan (UCF); DT Milton Williams (Louisiana Tech).
Analysis: This is an entirely new pick to our four-part series, and one you’ll remember, Bill acquired from his first round deal with Chicago. While Davis has been a solid mid round pick in a couple of the other scenarios, Bill can’t pass up on the athletic edge rusher here…
“With the 83rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: DE Dayo Odeyingbo, (Vanderbilt)”
The 6’6”/276lbs Odeyingbo recorded five sacks in eight games during his senior season with eight QB hits and 12 hurries. While his PFF grade of 75.2 leaves a little to be desired, Odeyingbo won’t be more than a role player in his rookie season, as the Pats have more than enough depth on the defensive edge.
Up next - 3rd round-conditional, Pick #96 -
On the board - LB Jamin Davis (Kentucky); S Jamar Johnson (Indiana); CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky); G Kendrick Green (Illinois); CB Tay Gowan (UCF); T Brady Christensen (BYU).
Analysis: Davis is still there. Time to add to that front-seven’s prowess…
“With the 96th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: LB Jamin Davis, (Kentucky)”
PFF’s big board has Davis as the 41st ranked prospect, and still sitting there 55 picks later, that’s just not a value Bill can pass up. Could Davis be the next to join the celebrated lineage of Patriot linebackers from McGinest, Bruschi and Vrabel-to-Mayo and Hightower? He’ll certainly have time to learn as he enters an already deep linerbacker’s room.
Up next - 4th round, Pick #120
On the board - DT Osa Odighizuwa (UCLA); LB Marlon Tuipulotu (USC);; S Jamar Johnson (Indiana); CB Kelvin Joseph (Kentucky); G Kendrick Green (Illinois); CB Tay Gowan (UCF); T - Brady Christensen (BYU).
Analysis: Odighizuwa makes for an interesting choice as a pass-rushing nose tackle, but let’s cap this mock by taking a position not yet addressed in this scenario…
“With the 120th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select: WR Josh Palmer, (Tennessee)”
This one is a bit of a reach, especially given Bill’s track record draft wide receivers. PFF has Palmer with an average draft position of 123.3, so at least in the ballpark of 120th. PFF’s bottom line projection has Palmer as a third rounder, so should he still be available at pick #120, it’s another value selection by Bill. Palmer is 6’2”/210lbs and had 1,416 receiving yards in 35 games over his final three seasons at Tennessee and scored a 70.7 overall grade from PFF in 2020.
We capped off today’s series with a wild card as Bill executed two pre-draft deals followed by another first-round move. While there are some question marks in this group of five, the potential could be extraordinary - 20th overall: CB Jaycee Horn (SC); 44th overall: T Walker Little (STAN); 83rd overall: DE Dayo Odeyingbo (VAN); 96th overall: LB Jamin Davis (KT); 120th overall: WR Josh Palmer (TEN).