Bill Belichick makes two picks in Round 1

The New England Patriots were strong throughout 2021 totally free company, and lots of anticipate that to continue into the NFL draft. Belichick has 10 choices and approximately that lots of lineup areas to fill. He likewise likes to include undrafted totally free representatives in droves, so it’s simple to envision he’ll combine his choice overall this year, possibly by trading up or by getting choices next year.

Counter-intuitively, I have the Patriots trading down in the preliminary — which won’t be a crowd-pleaser. (I acknowledge that.) However New England is just trading back in the preliminary to get more ammunition to move their second-round choice into the preliminary, providing a set of first-round choices.

Here’s how we see that playing out.

DOUBLE TRADE: First round, 20th overall: Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

With none of the top four quarterbacks on the board, New England moves back twice, first from 15th to 16th and then from 16th to 20th. In the process, the most important draft asset they get in the move backward is a 2021 second-round pick. More on that later. At 20, they get Toney, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound standout. It was a toss-up between him and Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins. But the Patriots still need young talent at receiver, even after signing Nelson Agholor (2-year deal) and Kendrick Bourne (a deal the Patriots can exit after one year). Toney is drawing comparisons to T.Y. Hilton as a player who is speedy and elusive with the ball in his hands. He ran an unofficial 4.39 40-yard dash, and has the ability to stretch the field. He can also play inside and outside. At the Senior Bowl, he began to hush the skepticism that he was too small to handle press coverage in the NFL. He should be a major playmaker in the NFL. If the Patriots wanted to go with a big receiver who might someday be the next Allen Robinson, Rashod Bateman is still on the board.

The Patriots get:

  • 20h overall, 52th overall (from Arizona), a 2022 third-rounder (from Arizona) and a 2022 third-rounder (from Washington).

The Patriots lose:

TRADE: First round, 32nd overall: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

(Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP, Pool)

Here’s that trade-up I teased. New England packages a pair of second-round picks to get another crack at the first round. Did you think this pick would be Kyle Trask? Spoiler alert: that pick is coming. But I don’t think any of the quarterbacks left over are worth a first-round pick. If Mac Jones was somehow still on the board — and it would be stunning if he was — then maybe Belichick gets him here. But instead, the Patriots coach jumps up to secure an edge rusher with unique physical abilities that translated to major production at Miami. He’d likely be a 3-4 defensive end in New England’s system. It would be like having Chandler Jones all over again. And imagine the Patriots having Phillips and Matthew Judon on the same side of the defense. New England moves into the first round to secure Phillips — and his first-round status would ensure they can keep him on the fifth-year option.

The Patriots get:

The Patriots lose:

TRADE: Third round, 79th overall: Kyle Trask, QB, Florida

New England got the standout receiver. Why not pair him with the quarterback? Again, the Patriots trade up to target a player they covet. Trask had a tremendous season in 2021, and it’s likely we’ll see, in part, why that came together so nicely. His tight end, Kyle Pitts, is likely to be a top 10 pick and his top receiver, Toney, went in the first round. Trask gives off Jacob Eason vibes. When Eason came out, there was some talk he’d sneak into the first round, just for him to fall into the fourth. The same is true of Trask, a player who gets occasional very first-round chatter but could totally fall to this point. His profile is very similar to Mac Jones — and yet Trask feels like a much better value play here. He’d be an interesting player for New England to draft and develop behind Newton for a year.

The Patriots get:

The Patriots lose:

Fourth round, 120th overall: Ar’Darius Washington, safety, TCU

No trade. Can you believe it? He’s everything the Patriots want in a safety — except for his size. He’s 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds. That’s a little scary. But his film makes him worth the risk. He’s a do-it-all safety that has a knack for being around the ball, whether it’s in run defense or in coverage. He’s an interesting prospect to develop behind Devin McCourty, who is playing at a high level but might eye retirement in the coming years.

TRADE: No choice.

Again, the Patriots might keep their eyes on the horizon. We’ll explain what gives with all these trade into 2022 at the bottom of the mock draft.

The Patriots get:

The Patriots lose:

Sixth round, 188th overall: Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois

OK, this was just me having too much fun. Imatorbhebhe is a wild prospect, who stands at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and has a vertical leap of 46.5 inches. That would have been a combine record, if he’d recorded it there. He was a touchdown machine in college.

Sixth round, 197th overall: Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas

Boyd isn’t the type of running back most Patriots fans are expecting New England to pick. He’s a bruiser in ways similar to Damien Harris. But the Patriots were reportedly sniffing around Leonard Fournette this offseason during free agency. Maybe they’ll keep looking for a big back who can catch the ball in the draft. That’s Boyd, who finished his career with 389 carries for 2,179 yards and 13 touchdowns with 52 catches for 358 yards.

Looking ahead to 2022…

It seems like a small haul for 2021, but the Patriots invested heavily in free agency this offseason because it seems like a buyer’s market (in favor of the few teams with cap space, like the Patriots). When the new TV deal impacts 2022 free agency, it should be a seller’s market (in favor of players). So in anticipation of that, Belichick loads up on choices for that draft, which will be his best avenue for talent that year. It’s also essential to note that mid-round picks might have a hard time making a roster as deep as this one. So we thought about the future and acquiring high-end skill. Here’s what we got in 2022 (without forfeiting any of his own choices): Washington’s third-, 4th- and fifth-rounders, and Arizona’s 3rd-rounder. Okay.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.