Patriots 7-Round Mock Draft 4.0 (Featuring Trades)

With the NFL draft less than two weeks away, it’s time for another Patriots mock draft.

While Caleb Williams is still a virtual lock to be the first player off the board, ESPN‘s Adam Schefter has been adamant that Jayden Daniels will be the Commanders’ pick at #2 overall, with Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy being the most likely picks for New England at #3.

I think Drake Maye is the no-brainer pick at the Patriots’ current spot. However, since these mocks are geared toward exploring multiple possibilities and evaluating different players, I went in another direction.

J.J. McCarthy is one of the most fascinating, if divisive, prospects in this class. He has projectable tools and the intangibles teams love at the position, but he’s too much of an unknown at this point in his career for me to be comfortable taking him with such a high pick.

Instead, I went the trade route to help New England address the quarterback position while adding extra picks to fill their many roster holes.

 TRADE:

  • NE sends #3
  • MIN sends #11, #23, a 2025 1st-round pick, and a 2026 1st-round pick
    ———————————————————————————–
  • NE sends #11, a 2025 1st-round pick, and 2026 1st-round pick
  • ARI sends #4 and #104

The framework for the Vikings pick swap is based on what the 49ers gave up to acquire Trey Lance in 2021. The Dolphins traded the 3rd overall pick to San Francisco in exchange for a 1st-round pick (12th overall), 2022 1st and 3rd-round picks, and a 2023 1st-round pick. Unlike that trade, New England would acquire an additional 1st-rounder in this year’s draft rather than a future 3rd-rounder.

I used the NFL Trade Chart Calculator to develop a fair trade scenario with the Cardinals that would put New England back in the top-5 and guarantee a shot at one of the draft’s most promising young passers.

Round 1, Pick 4 (from ARI): QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Trading the #3 overall pick would take the Patriots out of the running for Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. But trading back into the top-5 would position them to make McCarthy the future face of the franchise.

McCarthy is one of the biggest enigmas in this class, as Michigan’s run-heavy offense didn’t afford many opportunities to show what he could do as a passer. However, his combination of glowing intangibles, projectable athletic traits, accuracy, and solid mechanics gives him a higher ceiling than any top prospect not named Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

McCarthy has enough arm strength to make any throw, has impressive pocket poise and navigation for a relatively inexperienced player, shows anticipation and a willingness to throw over the middle, and can create when plays break down. There are some attempts on his tape that he probably shouldn’t try at the next level, but he isn’t afraid to throw into tight windows.

McCarthy is on the smaller side for a quarterback, and his arm and touch could use improvement. His processing is also a work in progress. But at just 21 years old, he should continue to grow mentally and physically. Between his extensive experience under center and proven track record on 3rd downs, McCarthy could be a solid starter from Year 1 with Pro Bowl towards the end of his first contract.

Round 1, Pick 23 (from MIN): WR Adonai “AD” Mitchell, Texas

The Patriots’ wide receiver room is loaded with Z/slot types but lacks an X who can consistently beat 1-on-1 coverage outside the numbers. While prototypes like Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, and Brian Thomas Jr. will likely be off the board by the late 1st round, AD Mitchell is a fringe 1st/2nd-round prospect who fits what New England needs and could instantly become a high-impact player.

At 6’2″, 205 lbs with explosive measurables, Mitchell checks the boxes for what teams covet in a boundary receiver. In routes, he’s smooth in releases and can lull defenders to sleep before exploding into his final break to leave them in the dust. His ball-tracking and ability to adjust to passes, particularly outside of his frame, are exceptional, leading to some jaw-dropping receptions.

The biggest weaknesses in Mitchell’s game revolve around consistency. He can flip a switch to dominate in big moments, but his contested route-pacing, catch ability, and blocking fluctuate. While slow-playing routes work to his advantage, this tendency can also come off as poor effort and make him easier to cover. He gets handled by physical corners at times, doesn’t always come down with the difficult catches he’s capable of making, and his work after the catch is also underwhelming for someone with his measurables. Mitchell’s tenacity and sustain when at the point of attack on runs or screens can also leave much to be desired.

Mitchell’s hot-and-cold tendencies make him a bit of a gamble. But if New England believes his consistency can improve, he’s an undeniable talent who could fit perfectly in Alex Van Pelt’s scheme.

Round 2, Pick 34: OL Jordan Morgan, Arizona

The left side of the Patriots’ offensive line is a significant question mark at this point in the offseason. Chukwuma Okorafor is a solid bridge tackle option, but he’s been exclusively used on the right side since entering the league. Cole Strange’s return timetable and future are also unknown following a pair of knee injuries that forced him to miss significant time last season. If New England wants starting-caliber insurance at both spots, Jordan Morgan could fit the bill.

Morgan might be a guard in the NFL due to his modest foot speed and struggles against wide alignments. However, his performance against premier edge rusher Laiatu Latu last season showed glimpses of his potential on the blindside. Morgan can quickly shut down defenders with adequate length, strong hands, natural strength, and patience in his punch. He’s also got a formidable frame and good burst, which comes in handy on the backside of zone runs and when blocking in space.

My gut feeling is that New England will double-dip on tackle prospects in the draft, which would entail adding at least one developmental prospect. In Alex Van Pelt’s scheme, which emphasizes the run game, play action, and max protection, Morgan should be able to hold things down if Okorafor isn’t comfortable at left tackle. In the long term, Morgan could be an upgrade at guard over the talented, hard-working, but inconsistent Strange.

Round 3, Pick 68: WR Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington

AD Mitchell gives the Patriots their bona fide X receiver, but the offense could use another big-play threat with size. Few mid-round targets fit that criteria better than Ja’Lynn Polk, another Sugar Bowl participant who would be an instant contributor in New England.

Polk lined up both outside and in the slot for Washington’s offense. He’s a big target with a wide catch radius, which he maximizes with exceptional ball-tracking, hands, and toughness through contact. Polk attacks the ball in the air and will go all out to extend for passes outside of his frame, even over the middle of the field. Though he isn’t very explosive, Polk has enough juice to stack corners and capitalize on open alleys as a ball carrier. Run-blocking is also an area of strength, making him an ideal fit at Z.

Due to his lack of top-end athleticism and route running, Polk is just an average separator and can be crowded by press coverage. And while he’s typically reliable in contested catch situations, he could stand to be more consistent.

Polk may not provide as much juice as other receivers in this class, but his dependability, toughness, and renowned work ethic could make him a tone-setting presence on the field and in the Patriots’ wide receiver room.

Round 4, Pick 103: CB Cam Hart, Notre Dame

The Patriots have several outside cornerback options behind Christian Gonzalez, but none have shown enough to dissuade the team from taking advantage of a good value at the position. Cam Hart’s background as a receiver, extensive experience playing man coverage, and outstanding tools make him an ideal fit in New England’s scheme.

At 6’3″, 202 lbs with 33″ arms, Hart has the size to smother receivers, especially when aligned in press. The team captain complements that size with quick feet, balance, and solid vertical speed. Hart grew steadily throughout his college career, culminating in three forced fumbles and zero games with 40+ receiving yards allowed last season. He also has experience as a gunner and can contribute to coverage teams.

Hart’s physical attributes and pattern of improvement are promising, but he’s best suited matching up with bigger-bodied receivers due to some lower-body stiffness. He also needs to tighten up his footwork and struggles to locate the football, which hurts his ability to make plays. Hart also has a history of shoulder issues, which ended Gonzalez and Marcus Jones’ 2023 campaigns.

If New England is comfortable with Hart’s medicals, he’d be a fun project for cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino. With the corner’s physical play style and effectiveness in man, the defense could return to the matchup-coverage style it specialized in during Stephon Gimore’s time with the team.

Round 4, Pick 104 (from ARI): ED Jalyx Hunt, Houston Christian

Re-signing Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche rounded out an outside linebacker group that was looking shallow ahead of free agency. However, with Matthew Judon turning 32 in August, Keion White still unproven, and Josh Uche on a one-year deal, the position could use additional depth. While defensive back-turned-linebacker Jalyx Hunt is very much a work in progress, he has the tools to become a valuable chess piece in New England’s multiple scheme and an ideal replacement for Judon down the road.

Hunt’s background in the secondary is evident in his explosiveness and mobility, which allows him to line up both on and off the line of scrimmage. He’s fluid in coverage and shows great recognition and pursuit against the run.  As a pass rusher, Hunt can explode out of his stance and has the bend to turn the corner and bring heat off the edge. He’s understandably raw in his rush plan and execution, but he has the length and power to beat linemen’s hands and keep himself clean.

Added weight, improved recognition and technique, and more consistency as a tackler will be key to Hunt becoming an every-down player in the NFL, which could take a season or two. In the meantime, he should be a plus on special teams and could fill a Mack Wilson-esque role in obvious pass situations.

Round 5, Pick 137: K Will Reichard, Alabama

It may be too soon to give up on Chad Ryland, and there is hope that long-time special teams coach Tom Quinn can help the second-year kicker get his career on track.  That said, he was the only kicker in the NFL to convert fewer than 70% of field goal attempts, and his misses played a significant factor in some of the team’s losses last season. Will Reichard would add much-needed competition to the position, offering plenty of big-game experience and a proven track record of consistency.

Reichard may not have Ryland’s leg strength, but he’s extremely accurate and wouldn’t have to handle kickoff duties. Over the past four seasons, Reichard made 95% of kicks under 40 yards and over 70% of attempts from 50 or deeper.

Going with a kicker in the middle rounds two years in a row may not go over well with fans, but last season showed how the position can be a difference-maker in tight games. If New England isn’t fully confident in Ryland after a rocky rookie year, going with a more reliable option might be the best course of action.

Round 6, Pick 180: TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State

Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper are solid veteran pass-catchers, but neither offers much versatility or big-play ability at this point in their careers. Jaheim Bell would be an intriguing addition to the tight end room who can fill multiple roles in New England’s offense.

Bell was primarily an H-back in Florida State’s offense, but he lined up at every skill position spot, including the slot, outside the numbers, and in the backfield. He’s a solidly built, competitive player with soft hands and the burst to threaten downfield. Bell’s toughness and balance through contact make him a formidable ball carrier, allowing him to turn short catches into longer gains.

While his demeanor and position flexibility stand out, they compensate for a lack of prototypical size and explosiveness. He’s also a bit stiff, which limits his proficiency as a route runner and YAC threat. Bell shows flashes of power and undeniable effort as a run blocker, but he’s mostly underwhelming in that area.

Given Alex Van Pelt’s affinity for multiple tight-end sets, I could see Bell playing a Harrison Bryant-type role as a chess piece who does a bit of everything. If he can become more consistent as a blocker, the Swiss Army knife could quickly blossom into a solid TE2.

Round 6, Pick 193 (from JAX): IDL Khristian Boyd, Northern Iowa

The Patriots’ interior defensive line may be the team’s strongest position group, but its long-term outlook is grim. Though extension talks are underway with breakout star Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux, Daniel Ekuale, Jeremiah Pharms Jr., and Armon Watts will all be free agents in 2025. Khristian Boyd would be a much-needed infusion of youth at the position who can contribute as both a run-stopper and pass-rusher.

While Boyd didn’t face the toughest competition at Northern Iowa, the team captain showed NFL-caliber talent with his dominant play, earning Third Team All-American and First Team All-MVFC honors. He boasts ideal size, sand, and power to play over the nose, but he’s also explosive off the ball, moves well for his body type, and has a solid pass-rush repertoire. Boyd is also relentless, which keeps him in plays if his initial rush stalls.

Boyd’s arm length is less than ideal, making it hard for him to get off blocks. And like any prospect from a lower-level program, he needs some technical refinement, specifically regarding his pad level, balance, and consistency in finishing reps. Although he’s an older prospect at 24 years old, the improvement Boyd showed in his final season and his glowing off-field reviews are encouraging signs that he’ll continue to develop and maximize his potential.

Round 7, Pick 227 (from CHI): OT Travis Glover Jr., Georgia State

With Jordan Morgan potentially kicking inside to guard down the line, I have the Patriots double-dipping at offensive tackle with one of this class’ most popular late-round prospects.

Travis Glover first caught my attention with his impressive performance during Senior Bowl week, where he showed off a mean streak after replacing an injured Jeremy Flax after the first day of practices. Glover is a mountain of a man at 6’6″, 317 lbs, and that size, combined with long arms and a patient punch, make him tough to beat around the edge. Glover’s strong grip can result in quick wins, and he has the sand and flexibility to hold his ground against power. As a run blocker, he plays with violence and buries defenders whenever possible. He also has five years of starting experience, which includes time at both tackle spots and left guard.

Aside from his small-school status, Glover’s stock will be impacted by his limited explosiveness and mobility. He covers this deficiency with great length, but it will be an issue against more explosive edge rushers and when blocking in space. High pads and poor hand placement can also get him into trouble, but those can be refined with coaching.

The Patriots have shown significant interest in Glover, having hosted him for a 30 visit after meetings at the Hula Bowl and Georgia State’s pro day. If Scott Peters can hone his technique and maximize his physical tools, Glover could be an excellent value at the end of the draft.

Taylor Kyles

Taylor Kyles is the lead NFL Analyst for CLNS Media covering players, schemes, and tendencies through a New England Patriots-centric lens.

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