BOSTON (CBS) — Draft season is underway in the NFL, which means it’s time for the annual barrage of mock drafts for us all to mock.

By mock, we of course mean feast on for the next eight weeks. And that’s where we come in, to give you a roundup of everyone the pundits think the New England Patriots will take at the end of the first round.

The Patriots have a first-round selection for the first time in three years, slotted in to make the 31st overall pick — unless Bill Belichick trades it, of course. The Pats have a bevy of needs that they can address in the draft, whether it’s finding a potential replacement for corner Malcolm Butler or another playmaking linebacker to suit up beside Dont’a Hightower.

Here’s a quick roundup of who the so-called experts believe the Patriots will select when picks start flying off the board on April 26.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN (insider content)

Donte Jackson, CB, LSU

donte jackson NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Patriots Draft At No. 31?

LSU cornerback Donte Jackson. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Jackson is another prospect I expect will rise at the combine. He might be the fastest player in this class. He has elite speed and?physical talent, and he could help out as a returner. Jackson is only 5-11, 180, but he has a similar build to that of 2017 first-round pick? Adoree’ Jackson. We know the Patriots love to trade down, so?this is a spot to watch for a team trying to get Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Patriots also need a pass-rusher,?and Boston College’s Harold Landry or Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter could be under consideration.

Will Brinson, CBS Sports

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

leighton vander esch dl NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Patriots Draft At No. 31?

Oregon Quarterback Justin Herbert is sacked by Leighton Vander Esch of the Boise State Broncos during the first half of the Las Vegas Bowl. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

No clue if Vander Esch played lacrosse, but he certainly has a name that fits in with someone who might have. The Patriots could use some more athletes and an upgrade on defense. 

Danny Kelly, The Ringer

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

There are few players generating more buzz right now than Vander Esch, who could, with an impressive combine performance, solidify himself as a late first-rounder. He has all the hallmarks of a Patriots linebacker: capable in coverage, strong against the run, and versatile enough to play multiple spots on the field—with the upside to rush the passer in certain situations. Even with Dont’a Hightower returning to action in 2018, it’s a position of need for Bill Belichick’s squad.

Luke Easternling, USA Today

Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

isaiah oliver NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Patriots Draft At No. 31?

Colorado Defensive back Isaiah Oliver defends a pass away from Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

After getting benched for the Super Bowl, Malcolm Butler will be heading elsewhere in free agency this offseason, and finding his replacement should be the Pats’ top priority. Oliver may be the most polished, complete corner in a deep class, making him an excellent value pick here.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation

Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn

carlton davis NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Patriots Draft At No. 31?

Auburn defensive back Carlton Davis breaks up a pass against Mississippi State. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Whether it’s with this choice, or their pick in the 40s, the Patriots need to bring in a good cornerback this offseason. Davis is an aggressive corner who doesn’t mind fighting wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.

Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Nate Solder is an impending free agent. It’ll be interesting to see what the Patriots do with him. He’s obviously very talented, but he’s had severe injury problems over the past several seasons, so New England may decide that it can’t count on him. 

Peter Schrager,

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

sony michel NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who Will Patriots Draft At No. 31?

Georgia running back Sony Michel runs against the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

If Dion Lewis does indeed depart, the Patriots could just scoop up the home run-hitting Michel in the draft. First-round talent who’s earned comparisons to Alvin Kamara.

Overall, the Patriots have six selections in the upcoming draft, including the second-round selection they received from the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.

Round 1, 31st overall
Round 2, 41-43 overall* (From San Francisco via Jimmy Garoppolo trade)
Round 2, 63rd overall
Round 3, 95th overall
Round 4, 136th overall (Compensatory Pick)
Round 6, 205th overall

*Official order will be determined by a coin flip between San Francisco, Oakland and Dolphins on March 2

Comments (2)
  1. Jeff Dearman says:

    they will probably trade down into the 2nd round . bill doesnt like #1s. usually unless theres a superior QB or something or Dlineman we will probably trade into the 2nd round

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