After an exciting first round of the 2018 NFL Draft which found the New England Patriots selecting two Georgia Bulldogs in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, the team now looks to address other positions on the second night of the draft. After a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for offensive tackle Trent Brown, the Patriots no longer have a third round selection (pick 95). They still have two second round picks, at 43 and 63 overall. Here are some names to watch and scenarios that could play out tonight.
After selecting two players for the offensive side of the ball on Thursday night, expectations are high that New England adds to the defense on the second night of the draft. Here are some positions and players that could be in the mix for the Patriots tonight.
The first round of the draft saw three defensive tackles come off the board, with Vita Vea going to Tampa Bay, Da’Ron Payne to Washington and Taven Bryan to Jacksonville. While the Patriots added Danny Shelton in the offseason in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, neither he nor Malcom Brown are under contract for the 2019 season, so there is a longer-term need at the position.
Maurice Hurst fell out of the first round, likely due to his heart condition. Reports came out earlier this week that Hurst was dropped from some teams’ boards, and recently there is speculation that Hurst might not be drafted at all:
'I don't believe he'll be drafted. I could be wrong about this….' – Broaddus on Maurice Hurst. Says if his heart condition is 'corrected' then his football career is over.
— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) April 27, 2018
That certainly is worrisome. But the Patriots were confident in Michel’s knee condition to draft him in the first round, so if they have a similar level of confidence in Hurst, they could pull the trigger. Other options include Tim Settle from Virginia Tech or Harrison Phillips from Stanford.
Bradley Chubb and Marcus Davenport were the only EDGE defenders to hear their names called on Thursday night, meaning some intriguing options on the outside are available as we approach Round 2. Harold Landry from Boston College, who was widely expected to be an early first-round pick, remains available. Similar to Hurst, however, there are medical concerns. Landry’s 2016 season was much better on film than his 2017 season, during which he battled both knee and back injuries. Again, if the medical staff feels comfortable with him, the Patriots could land a top-flight EDGE talent in the second round.
But there are other names to consider. Sam Hubbard is available, and he is a player that has been linked to the Patriots throughout the draft process. He has some positional versatility in that he can line up as an 5T in a 4-3 alignment or an off-ball LB in a 3-4 front. That, plus the lacrosse background, might make him enticing to Bill Belichick. Lorenzo Carter from Georgia is another player to consider, and he also brings some athleticism and positional versatility. You could imagine the comfort level for Carter if he joins two teammates coming north.
This might be the position of biggest “need” for the Patriots heading into this draft, and the team might have missed out on the most talented off-ball linebackers last night when Roquan Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Tremaine Edmunds and Rashaan Evans were all drafted before the Patriots were first on the clock, with the Tennessee Titans trading up right in front of New England to draft Evans out of Alabama. But there are still options available, including Malik Jefferson from Texas, Skai Moore from South Carolina, Fred Warner from BYU, Shaquem Griffin from UCF, Jerome Baker from Ohio State and Josey Jewell from Iowa.
Griffin, Baker and Jewell are perhaps more Round Three or Four players, as much as I love Griffin’s athleticism and Jewell’s experience. Moore also has medical concerns (sensing a pattern yet?) as he endured a cervical fusion surgery after an injury. Jefferson and Warner are very intriguing options who fit the “more athletic” mold that the Patriots are looking for, and are definitely players to watch tonight.
With players falling down boards due to some surprising picks and four quarterbacks being picked in the top ten, three are some interesting cornerbacks and safeties still available. The secondary might not be the most pressing issue for New England, but six players in particular stand out as options. At CB, Isaiah Oliver and Carlton Davis fit the mold of man coverage corners that fit New England’s defensive scheme. Josh Jackson is available, but he seems more of a zone coverage cornerback ideal for a Cover 3-heavy scheme, and he might not be the best fit. But if anyone could make it work…
At the back of the secondary three safeties could be under consideration. Justin Reid seems like the Swiss Army Knife that Belichick covets in a defensive back, while Jesse Bates and Ronnie Harrison are also options for the Patriots.
It might be yet another surprise if the Patriots address offense in a big way tonight, there are still needs on that side of the football, including at the most important position on the field.
The wide receiver room in New England is a crowded room still, even with the departures of Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola. The return of Julian Edelman coupled with the additions of Cordarrelle Patterson and Jordan Matthews give the Patriots some options at the various WR spots. It’s unlikely that they address this position tonight, and if you’ve been listening to Locked On Patriots, you know when and how I expect the team to add a receiver in this draft…
We only saw one tight end drafted in the first round with the Baltimore Ravens selecting Hayden Hurst with the 25th pick. That means some very interesting options, such as Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki, Mark Andrews, Ian Thomas and Dalton Schultz are out there for New England to consider. Given the recent announcement that Rob Gronkowski is coming back for 2018, and the addition of Troy Niklas, New England likely waits on addressing this position until Day 3. But the thought of Gesicki and Gronkowski in the red zone is nightmarish from a defensive coordinator’s perspective.
The elephant in the room. If you were one of the people watching the live Football Guys broadcast last night with Sigmund Bloom, Matt Waldman and a cast of characters you got to see me on camera in real time agonize over whether the Patriots would pick Lamar Jackson. As we know, they did not.
Kyle Lauletta seems to be the guy to consider for New England, but having traded away that third-round pick, and with five quarterbacks already off the board, if the Patriots want the Richmond product they likely have to use one of the second round picks on him. They could wait, and see how the board falls, and take their chances on Day 3. But without that 95th pick, it is unlikely a quarterback like Lauletta or even Luke Falk would be on the board when the Patriots pick next, in the fifth round at pick 143. Unless, of course, they trade away one of tonight’s picks and add a third or fourth round selection. Which leads me to…
If the Patriots stand pat, after they pick at 63 they would not be on the clock for 80 selections. That is an eternity in the NFL draft, and that is perhaps one of the sweet spots in this draft for solid talent. Given this, it is likely that New England explores trading one of the two picks in the second round to add a pick or two in that gap.
I am not a gambling man, but if I had to hazard a guess the Patriots stay pat at 43 and address the defense, either with Hurst if they feel comfortable with the medicals, or Lorenzo Carter. Then they trade out of the second with that pick at 63, perhaps with a team like the Seattle Seahawks or New York Jets who lack a second-rounder. The Seahawks have a third-rounder (76) as do the Jets (72). That would give New England some flexibility later on tonight and likely add a Day 3 pick as well. They they would hope that a Lauletta or a Falk is there on the board later in the evening.
Dolphins, Timeline Takes and the 2003 Patriots Draft
In the latest Locked On Patriots, Mark Schofield addressed the following topics:
- Miami Dolphins storylines;
- Timeline Takes: Brady playing until he’s 45 and Madden ratings;
- The 2003 Patriots draft, revisited.
You can listen to the episode here.
Bills Storylines, Brady Chats with Oprah and Concluding Football in Film
On the latest Locked On Patriots podcast, Mark Schofield dove into the following areas:
- Storylines facing the Buffalo Bills
- Tom Brady’s interview with Oprah Winfrey
- How listeners can close out Football in Film
You can listen to the episode here.
Football In Film
Over the past month or so, Mark Schofield has been taking listeners to the Locked On Patriots podcast through a number of football movies. Finally, his job is done and it is up to you to rank them.
First, in case you missed any of the episodes, here they are:
May 7, 2018: Varsity Blues
May 8, 2018: The Program
May 9, 2018: The Best of Times
May 10, 2018: Any Given Sunday
May 14, 2018: The Replacements
May 15, 2018: Jerry Maguire
May 16, 2018: Rudy
May 17, 2018: Remember the Titans
May 21, 2018: Undefeated
May 22, 2018: The Waterboy
May 23, 2018: Friday Night Lights
May 24, 2018: Knute Rockne: All American
May 28, 2018: Invincible
May 29, 2018: The Longest Yard (1971)
May 31, 2018: All the Right Moves
June 4, 2018: Everybody’s All-American
June 5, 2018: Wildcats
June 6, 2018: Brian’s Song
June 11, 2018: North Dallas Forty
June 12, 2018: The Blind Side
June 13, 2018: We Are Marshall
June 14, 2018: M*A*S*H
Now, it is in your hands. A survey has been created that you can fill out here. Rank these movies. If you have a movie to include, use the “Other” selection and let me know about it on Twitter: @MarkSchofield