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Noah Fant
AP
Draft Decisions

NFL Draft Needs: Patriots

by Josh Norris
Updated On: March 25, 2019, 4:10 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: DE Michael Bennett, RB/ST Brandon Bolden, TE Matt LaCosse, DT Mike Pennel, WR Maurice Harris, WR Bruce Ellington, S/ST Terrence Brooks.

Starting Offense

QB: Tom Brady
RB: James White
FB: James Develin
WR1: Julian Edelman
WR2: Phillip Dorsett
SLWR: Bruce Ellington
TE: Matt LaCosse
LT: Isaiah Wynn
LG: Joe Thuney
C: David Andrews
RG: Shaq Mason
RT: Marcus Cannon

Starting Defense

LE: Deatrich Wise
RE: Michael Bennett
DT: Adam Butler
DT: Lawrence Guy
MLB: Ja’whaun Bentley
WLB: Dont’a Hightower
SLB: Kyle Van Noy
LCB: Jason McCourty
RCB: Stephon Gilmore
SCB: Jonathan Jones
FS: Devin McCourty
SS: Pat Chung

NFL VIDEOS

Curran: Pats in horrible position without Gronk

Mar 24, 2019
Mike Florio and Tom Curran break down Rob Gronkowski's retirement and try to figure out how the Patriots' offense will thrive in 2019.

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Defensive Line: Bennett and Pennel were underrated additions but don’t fully offset the departures of young talents Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton. The Patriots need more pocket pushers, especially on the edge.

Pass Catcher: Bringing on Ellington, LaCosse and Maurice Harris, and re-signing Dorsett improved New England’s pass-catcher depth, but Rob Gronkowski sounds serious about retirement, and Edelman turns 33 in May. Josh Gordon is suspended indefinitely. With six picks inside the top 101, it shouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots draft at least one tight end and at least one wide receiver. New England was rumored to be hot for slot WR Adam Humphries until the Titans overpaid him.

Left Tackle: Although 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn is Trent Brown’s presumptive heir apparent, Wynn’s effectiveness and health are hardly guaranteed coming off a torn Achilles’. Defensive back is another position for the Pats to address; Jason McCourty turns 32 before the season, while his brother Devin and slot CB Jonathan Jones are in contract years. Both McCourtys have discussed retirement.

 

Patriots 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (32). TE Noah Fant, Iowa - Yes, this is the ideal situation and oftentimes those don’t come to pass, but it truly is an ideal fit. Fant is just a ridiculous athlete at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds with an athletic profile in the 98th percentile. He’s Dustin Keller, who was an ascending player prior to a devastating injury. We all know Fant is a great receiver, and he’s a glitch in the game when motioning pre-snap and carrying that momentum on flat routes versus man near the goal line, but he also has plenty of in-line experience and was a very willing blocker.

2 (56). Acquired from Bears in Anthony Miller trade - EDGE Anthony Nelson, Iowa - I’ve noticed the Patriots like big edge prospects with good 3-cones. That is Anthony Nelson, who boasts a 6-foot-7 and 270-pound frame and posted a 6.95 3-cone. The Patriots are all about manufacturing disruption by being multiple up front, so expect Nelson to work multiple gaps. He has those skills.

2 (64). WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss - The Patriots signed a few slot receivers to short term deals in free agency but were interested in even bigger names at the same spot. Brown occupied the slot for the Rebels and plays the game similarly to Quincy Enunwa.

3 (73). QB Brett Rypien, Boise State - The consensus is that the Patriots will take a quarterback in this draft, and there will be many to choose from on the second day. Rypien, the nephew of Mark Rypien, has so much tape out there over four years, that any question teams will have can be answered. Inside and outside of structure, under center and in gun, short, middle and deep.

3 (97). S Will Harris, Boston College - Some might think this is a bit early. It wouldn't be a Patriots draft without their taking a safety earlier than expected. Harris posted a quick 6.91 3-cone with an athletic profile in the 83rd percentile. Turn on his game against FSU and in the first few plays you’ll see him play single high, then in the box and then blitz from a corner spot.

3 (101). OL Mike Jordan, Ohio State - Some view him as a tackle, some view him as a guard. I view him as a possible swing tackle and project for Dante Scarnecchia.

4 (134). WR Terry McLaurin, Ohio State - The only worrisome part of McLaurin’s evaluation is that he’ll be over 24 years old at the start of the season. Still, he’s super athletic, can win outside and offers great special teams skills.

6 (205). TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia - We took a receiving option earlier, so let’s pair Fant with a savage inline/H-back blocker, in the mold of Dwayne Allen.

7 (239). CB Davante Davis, Texas - Great 3-cone (6.76) and size. Possible project or practice squadder.

7 (243). DL Chris Nelson, Texas - There’s some upfield disruption to Nelson’s game from either the 1- or 3-technique.

7 (246). LB Tre Lamar, Clemson - Thumping linebacker at 6-foot-3 and 253-pounds, a style the Patriots value more than other teams.

7 (252). RB Bruce Anderson, North Dakota State - Finding a running back that is a comfortable receiver in this class is difficult, and Anderson is a nice dart throw in that category.

Josh Norris
Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .