BOSTON (CBS) — The 2020 season was not a great one for the New England Patriots. But if you’re looking for any silver linings, at least the team will be picking higher than it’s used to when draft time comes around.
With the Patriots finishing the regular season at 7-9 with a win over the Jets, and with the 49ers falling to the Seahawks on Sunday evening to finish the season at 6-10, New England is now locked into the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft.
The Patriots entered the final weekend of the regular season slotted into the No. 14 pick, but fell back a spot with Sunday’s win. Had the Patriots lost to the Jets (and the rest of Sunday’s results stayed the same), the team would have jumped up to the No. 12 pick on April 29.
If Bill Belichick makes the pick at No. 15, it will be New England’s first Top 20 pick since 2011 when the team drafted left tackle Nate Solder at No. 17. The Patriots last picked in the Top 15 in 2008, when Belichick drafted linebacker (and current defensive coach) Jerod Mayo at No. 10.
The franchise has drafted at No. 15 just once, taking quarterback Tony Eason in that spot in 1983.
The Patriots have no shortage of needs to address this offseason, and most of them are on the offensive side of the ball. Even if Cam Newton does return to the team, the Patriots will likely be in the market for a young quarterback in this year’s draft, in addition to needs at wide receiver and tight end.
Once compensatory picks are awarded in the near future, the Patriots are projected to have 11 selections in the 2021 NFL Draft.