Thursday’s are for Mock Drafts!
After an abundance of New England-centric pre-draft rumors and reports came out this week, we decided to steer in that direction for this one.
Here are the results from Mock 5.0:
Round 1, Pick 20: Zay Flowers – WR, Boston College
TRADE DETAILS: R1 (14), R4 (117) traded to Seahawks for R1 (20), R2 (37)
Trading back six spots and picking up an additional second while also landing arguably the best wide receiver in the class? Sign me up!
Zay Flowers met with the Patriots on Wednesday and according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, “landed in Boston at 6am from an overnight Vegas flight and went straight to the [team] facility to spend the day learning the offense with Bill O’Brien on his visit.”
They love this guy. They worked with him at the Shrine Bowl as well, teaching him HOSS juke over an over again. Now they’re going through the offense a second time on his top-30 visit.
Though they traded back here, it wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up trading up for Flowers on draft night.
Round 2, Pick 33: Jahmyr Gibbs – RB, Alabama
TRADE DETAILS: R2 (37), R4 (135) traded to Texans for 2 (33), R5 (161)
Speaking of trading up, New England is high on the “blue-chip” running backs in this class according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, and Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs could be exactly what they’re looking for.
Gibbs played with Bill O’Brien in Tuscaloosa where he was used not only as a runner but as a dynamic pass catcher. He caught 104 passes for 1,217 yards and eight touchdowns during his collegiate career, and his 4.44 second 40-yard dash speed allows him to line up all over the field for an offense.
After losing James White to retirement last offseason, Gibbs would right into the pass-catching back role that New England has both utilized and succeeded with for decades.
Round 2, Pick 46: DJ Turner – CB, Michigan
The three “tentpole” positions of need for the Patriots heading into this offseason were offensive tackle, wide receiver, and cornerback. After filling out tackle in free agency and wide receiver with Smith-Schuster and Flowers, the Patriots go for the fastest cornerback on the board.
Although he’s just 5’11”, DJ Turner from Michigan ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at the combine and put up a 9.58 RAS score with his measurables.
New England loves their Michigan defenders. They add Turner to the growing list.
Round 3, Pick 76: Blake Freeland – T, BYU
The Patriots seem okay with their piecemeal strategy on the offensive line this offseason, so they continue that with the most athletic tackle in the 2022 class.
BYU’s Blake Freeland, who ran a 4.97s 40 at the combine (at 6’8″ 303 pounds), is a raw talent. However with the signings and retentions of Conor McDermott, Yodny Cajuste, Riley Reiff, and Calvin Anderson, he could be a backup for a year while they work on his game.
Round 4, Pick 107: Corey Trice – CB, Purdue
Want to add size at corner? Corey Trice Jr. is just the guy you’re looking for.
The redshirt senior from Purdue is 6’3″ 206 pounds, has a 32 2/8″ arm and a 9 3/4″ hand, and QBs posted just a 51.3 QB rating when targeting him in 2022.
He also logged 34 tackles, two interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown on his way to an All-BIG10 Honorable Mention. He’d become the tallest corner in New England’s room by a margin.
Round 5, Pick 161: Viliami Fehoko – EDGE, San Jose State
San Jose State’s Viliami Fehoko took a top-30 visit to Foxboro this past week, so there’s a good chance they pounce on him if he’s still available at pick 161.
The 6’4″ 276-pound defensive end was the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 after putting up 69 tackles, nine sacks, and two forces fumbles for the Spartans over 12 games.
With John Uche in a contract year, New England will want to add to their front seven and Fehoko could develop into a high-quality NFL starter in the right system.
Round 5, Pick 184: Atonio Mafi – IOL, UCLA
Not only did Atonio Mafi work with the Patriots at the Shrine Bowl, but he also visited with them on Wednesday. Despite consistency on the interior, New England will likely draft for depth at some point at the position.
? @ShrineBowl Day 3 Film ?
IOL Atonio Mafi (56) from UCLA working to the second level to set up a TD run:
Love the swagger run away at the end too. pic.twitter.com/IlM0BpF75I
— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) January 31, 2023
Round 5, Pick 187: Adam Korsak – P, Rutgers
Adam Korsak won the Ray Guy Award in 2022 as the nation’s top punter.
Belichick is salivating thinking about the phrase: “The Patriots have selected a punter from Rutgers in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.”
Round 6, Pick 192: Dee Winters – LB, TCU
Dee Winters is a “linebacker” from TCU. The reason it’s in quotes? Because he played just about everywhere on the Horned Frog’s defense on their way to a National Championship appearance in 2022-23.
Of all the Pro Days that took place on March 30th, Bill Belichick and co. attended TCU’s – and while they were all over guys Quentin Johnston and Kendre Miller, I’m sure they kept a keen eye on Winters as well. Winters in 5’11”, 227 lbs and put up 79 total tackles and 7.5 sacks in 2022. A weapon.
Round 7, Pick 210: Caleb Murphy – EDGE, Ferris State
Caleb Murphy from Ferris State won the Cliff Harris Award in 2022, an award presented annually to the top small college defensive player of the year across the NCAA’s Division II, III, and NAIA universities.
Why is this relevant, you ask? Well, past winners of this award include Kyle Dugger and Sam Roberts, both of whom are Patriots. Belichick has a type.
Murphy also won the Ted Hendricks Award in ’22 given to the nations top defensive end (for context, Aiden Hutchinson won the award last year). He finished with his senior season with 97 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, and six fumble recoveries.
Round 7, Pick 245: Desjuan Johnson – DT, Toledo
Defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson from Toledo worked with the Patriots at the Shrine Bowl, so the fit here at pick 245 makes sense.
Johnson put up 5.5 sacks, 65 tackles, and an interception from the interior of the Rockets’ defensive line in 2022. He’s had several top-30 visits during the draft process, so his availability this late could be in question, but New England would be lucky to add his 6’3″ 275-pound frame to their front.
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