BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL Draft is just a few hours away from kicking off, meaning mockers are running out of time to tell teams who they should select when picks start flying off the board.
So for one final time ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, we’re rounding up who the pundits think the Patriots should/will draft in Thursday night’s first round. In a few cases, they have the Patriots trading out of the No. 32 pick on Thursday night to move back, which would shock absolutely no one if it comes to fruition. One even has the Pats taking advantage of their 12 selections over the weekend and trading up to snag a tight end.
What will actually happen in real life? We’ll have to wait to see, but for now, let’s live in the land of draft mockery for a few minutes more:
Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
The Patriots will likely trade out of this spot – adding even more picks or going up to target a player – but if they stay here why not take a top-10 talent? If Simmons doesn’t tear his ACL in January, he’s a high first-round pick.
Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
After losing Trey Flowers on the free-agent market, the Patriots could be interested in adding a position versatile defensive lineman with active hands. They’d get that here with Tillery.
Wilson has the Patriots trading the pick to Denver, who then drafts Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. Wilson doesn’t say what the Patriots receive in the swap, but it would likely be an additional pick or two over the weekend (how about a few more seventh rounders?!?!) or a future selection.
A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Patriots finally, at long last take a wide receiver in the first round.
Brinson also has the Patriots trading out of the No. 32 spot, and their trade partner also takes a quarterback with the pick. Brinson has the Pats working a deal with the New York Giants, who draft Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.
This doesn’t feel like a combo of teams that would work together, but the Patriots love to trade back and Gettleman can win the day if he comes out of the first round with two defensive linemen AND a quarterback of the future.
Irv Smith Jr., Tight End, Alabama
Receiver is an option as well, but it’s a deep class at the position and the Patriots can find starters there on Day 2. There’s a big drop-off at tight end after Smith, so I think he’s the preferred option if he makes it to their pick.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
I’ll be surprised if Fant lasts this long, but I could see the Patriots targeting him in a trade-up if he were to slip in the draft.
Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
A leader with experience, size (6-3 5/8, 211 pounds) and graced with a Vanderbilt education — this one makes a lot of sense for New England. Williams has had multiple visits with Patriots brass and could fit right in.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The Patriots could take a position player with potential to contribute immediately … or they could make a long-term investment in the most important position on the field.
Dalton Risner, T, Kansas State
The Patriots could easily trade this pick to a QB-needy team that wants to jump back into Round 1, but if New England stays put here, Risner could be the franchise’s next Logan Mankins. Versatile, and accomplished, he can play tackle, guard or center.
Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
A trade up is a possibility with New England’s surplus of picks, and I’d tend to agree with you—my guess is that the team will work to add skill-position talent on Friday, a point in the draft where there’s depth in starting-level tight ends and complementary receivers. Which would free them to go with the best player at 32, and Williams would qualify as the best player for them at 32. I’ve heard they love the kid, and would like use him as a Patrick Chung hybrid.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Patriots go into the 2019 draft with 12 picks. The Patriots will not use 12 picks in the 2019 draft. Fant is a player they could covet to replace Rob Gronkowski and make a rare trade up.
Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
The Patriots added a couple of receivers in free agency, but neither is the game-breaking player Tom Brady needs. With Rob Gronkowski retired, Brady’s only viable weapon is Julian Edelman, so that could certainly change with this selection. Parris Campbell seems like he’d be a perfect fit in New England’s offense.
Campbell has big-play ability, but didn’t live up to it statistically in the past because of some poor passing. That changed late in 2018, as Campbell dominated Michigan in the regular-season finale. There’s a decent chance he’s the third receiver drafted.
*** OTHER 2019 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Germaine Pratt, LB – The Patriots have needed help next to Dont’a Hightower for quite a while, so perhaps they’ll finally pull the trigger.
2. Trade Up – The Patriots have two second-round picks, so they’re in a position to move up.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
What are the chances that New England keeps this pick? Bill Belichick & Co. have six selections the first two days. Ferrell is the best edge rusher available, but there’s also a thought inside the league that he could play defensive tackle. We know Belichick likes versatile defenders.
Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
Savage has been one of the draft’s biggest risers over the past couple of weeks. He reads receivers and quarterbacks very well and will step up and make plays on the ball. And I love his aggressiveness in run support.