For the first time since the 2008 season, the New England Patriots failed to make the NFL playoffs. The Patriots finished with a 7-9 record and a third-place finish in the AFC East. Because of that record, they will be making their first pick more earlier than usual. The Patriots will pick at number 15 in the 2021 NFL Draft, which will be their highest selection since the 2008 draft.
Bill Belichick usually trades down in the draft to acquire more picks. However, the Patriots went on a big free-agent spending spree, which saw them shore up their biggest needs. Finding a quarterback to compete with Cam Newton is their most glaring need. The cornerback and wide receiver positions are the other positions of need. Former defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore is in the last year of his contract and could be out of Foxborough next season. Julian Edleman retired and the Pats will need to find another wideout to replace him.
The Pats have a total of 10 picks in this draft and I believe that after their spending spree, Bill Belichick is going to make a big move in this draft to find his next quarterback.
New England Patriots Seven- Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day One
**Trade: Detroit receives 1.15, 2.46, 3.96, 5.177, and a 2022 first and third. New England receives 1.7.
1.7 I Trey Lance l QB l North Dakota State
The New England Patriots made a splash in free agency and I believe Belichick is going to make a big move to get one of the top quarterbacks in this draft. So with that being said, he is going to do just that and make a trade to get Trey Lance. Lance, who is listed at 6’3″ and 224 pounds, does come with questions as he is an FCS prospect who only played one full season at North Dakota State and just one game this season due to the Covid- 19 pandemic.
He does however have all the intangibles to become a good quarterback. He is a great athlete who has good size with a great arm. His accuracy is a concern, but he may be the quarterback in this draft class that has the highest upside. Plus he will have the luxury to learn from Cam Newton for a season.
New England Patriots Seven- Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Three
4.120 l Jamar Johnson l S l Indiana
With the retirement of veteran safety Patrick Chung, the Pats could be looking to find them another safety. Johnson, who is listed at 6’2″ and 205 pounds, is the kind of player that Bill Belichick loves. He can play the run and and can drop into coverage. He has good football instincts and is versatile. He played Indiana’s “Husky” position which is a combination of safety, linebacker, and corner back. The ability to play corner is big for the Pats especially if they decide to trade or move on from Stephon Gilmore.
4.122 l Milton Williams l DT l Louisiana Tech
Williams (6’3″ 284 pounds) is another Belichick-style player who can play multiple positions. He was a two-year starter at Louisiana Tech and had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. He has good athleticism and quickness and can play inside as a tackle or as an end in a 3-4 which he did with the Bulldogs. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for it with his quickness and strength.
5.177 l Cornell Powell l WR l Clemson
It is no secret that the Patriots have struggled at the wide receiver position the past couple of seasons. The retirement of Julian Edelman did not help the situation. The Pats did sign free-agent wideouts Nelson Agholor from the Eagles and Kendrick Bourne from the 49ers which will help, but Powell (6’0 ” 204 pounds) would be a welcome addition. Powell has good hands, will go get the ball wherever it is, and can make tacklers miss after the catch. He only started one season at Clemson but he was productive when he did play.
5.188 l Zech McPhearson l CB l Texas Tech
Defensive backs have been a strength for the Pats, however, Stephon Gilmore will be a free agent after this season and could still be traded. J.C. Jackson is currently a restricted free agent and Jason McCourty is a free agent as well. McPhearson (5’11” 195 pounds) played two seasons at Penn State before transferring to Texas Tech. He started 2 seasons with the Red Raiders and was named All-Big 12 his senior season when he led the team in interceptions.
He is a good athlete (former baseball player) and comes from an athletic family as his father played for the New England Patriots. He has good ball skills and instincts but his height may hurt him against taller receivers. He played on special teams and will contribute there as well which Belichick loves.
6.197 l Earnest Brown IV l Edge l Northwestern
Brown is an intriguing prospect (6’4″ 254 pounds) who has good size and quickness and a good closing burst. He does struggle against the run and needs to improve his hand technique. He has some injury concerns as well, as he only played in 6 games in his junior season. Despite this, he has a chance to be a solid contributor at the next level for the New England Patriots.
7.242 l Buddy Johnson l LB l Texas A&M
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Mock Draft Recap
In this NFL mock draft, the New England Patriots address their biggest need which is a quarterback. They add depth at key positions after their free-agent spending spree. Trey Lance cost them a pretty penny but clearly, Belichick and company didn’t like sitting at home during the NFL playoffs. Cornell Powell will look to contribute and help out the Pats wideouts. Jamar Johnson, Milton Williams, Zech McPhearson, Earnest Brown IV, and Buddy Johnson add depth to the defense and can also contribute to special teams. This draft class along with the strong free-agent signings will have the Pats back into the playoffs.
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