BOSTON (CBS) — After trading out of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night, the Patriots suddenly have a pretty high pick on Friday evening.
Thursday night’s swap with the Chargers has New England set to make the fifth pick in the second round, one of the five picks they’re now scheduled to make on Friday. With four third-round picks, the Patriots have the flexibility to move up if they so desire.
Bill Belichick and company should have their pick at some talented players at No. 37, with some other intriguing options when the third round arrives. Here are some of the best players remaining as we head into Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney is touted as the best safety in the 2020 draft class (no safeties went in the first round), a versatile player and instinctual tackler who defends well against the run and the pass. He may not make it to No. 37, but considering he comes from Nick Saban’s defense, he’d be a great fit in New England if he’s available.
A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Epenesa has been connected to the Patriots in several mock drafts because he’d be just what the team needs to help the pass rush following the departure of Kyle Van Noy. He’s not explosive off the line, but he led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks in 2018 and followed that up with 11.5 sacks as a junior in 2019.
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Another effective pass-rusher, Gross-Matos racked up 18.5 sacks over his three years with the Nittany Lions.
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Blacklock is great against the run and could clog up holes on the New England defensive line, with the potential to become a solid pass-rusher. He missed his sophomore year with an Achilles injury, but earned First-Team All-Big-12 honors in 2019.
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Baun is a strong tackler and explosive off the edge, registering 12.5 sacks and 75 tackles during his senior season. He can play inside or outside, which is the kind of versatility Belichick loves out of his players.
Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
One of the top-ranked tight ends in the draft, Kmet caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six touchdowns for the Irish in 2019.
Harrison Bryant, TE, FAU
Bryant has seen his stock rise leading up to the draft, he had 65 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. Over his four-year carer at Florida Atlantic, Bryant found the end zone 16 times.
Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
You may have heard that the Patriots need a quarterback. Fromm would be a reach at No. 37, but if the Patriots trade up or down, they may be able to snag Fromm somewhere in the middle of the second round.
He’s a smaller quarterback (6-foot-2) who doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, but he’s a smart player with a quick release. Fromm completed 63.3 percent of his passes over his three years at Georgia.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Hurts is also on the smaller side, but he has a solid arm and is a tough dude with some top-end speed. His decision-making will have to improve in the NFL, but he can extend plays with his legs.
Hurts had a standout year for the Sooners in 2019, completing 69.7 percent of his passes while tossing 32 touchdowns. He played his first three years under Nick Saban at Alabama, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2016 as a freshman.
He should be available when New England starts to make their picks in the third round.
Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
Another potential third-round pick for the Pats, Dye is an instinctual linebacker who can do a little bit of everything. He’d be a nice addition to the linebacking corps next to Dont’a Hightower.
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
Hill isn’t a downfield threat, but he’s a great slot receiver who leaves Ohio State as the program’s all-time leader in reception with 201 over his four years. He caught 57 passes in 2019 for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.
James Lynch, DE, Baylor
At 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds, Lynch is monster on the defensive line. He racked up 20 sacks in his three seasons at Baylor. He led the Big 12 with 13.5 sacks in 2019, earning him Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.