By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots got their quarterback of the future Thursday night in Mac Jones, but there is still plenty of work to be done at the NFL Draft. New England enters Friday night with two just selections, but expect that to change at some point in the night.

Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft will kick off around 7 p.m., and here’s a quick look at what the Patriots are working with, what they need, and a few players they may target along the way.

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The Picks

Round 2 — 46th overall
Round 3 — 96th overall

Don’t expect that 50-pick gap to remain. Bill Belichick could move that No. 46 pick for some later picks on Friday. And with the Patriots slated to make seven picks on Saturday (three fourth-round picks, a fifth, two sixth-round picks, and a seventh), Belichick will likely try to consolidate some of those into another pick or two on Friday.

Don’t expect the Patriots to make that pick at No. 96. That is the comp pick that the team received for Tom Brady’s departure, so it will be traded into oblivion, much like the second-round pick New England received for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017. Expect No. 96 to get dealt, and then parts of that trade to get dealt for a future pick, and then that pick will get dealt next year, and on and on and on.

The Needs

Wide Receiver

Adding Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency will help, but with N’Keal Harry still hovering around bust status, the Pats could use another young wide out in the pipeline.

Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore would be a great selection at No. 46 if the Pats want to add a slot receiver to the mix. Moore destroyed SEC defenses last season with 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a first-round pick in some projections though, so he may not make it to No. 46.

Another Moore that the Patriots could draft on Friday is Purdue’s Rondale Moore, whose stock has fallen a bit after he opted out of 2020 following an injury-plagued 2019 season for the Boilermakers. There are also concerns about his size (5-foot-7, 180 pounds), but he’s explosive with the ball in his hands and super fast, and he could also help in the return game. In 2018, Moore scored 14 total touchdowns (12 receiving, two rushing) to go with his 114 receptions.

Clemson’s Amari Rodgers is also a name to watch on Friday. He’s another fast slot guy who had a solid four-year career at Clemson, hauling in 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020.

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Linebacker

Ohio State’s Baron Browning is a possibility at 46, a versatile linebacker who can play either the inside or the outside. If the Pats trade down, Nick Bolton of Missouri is a candidate late in the second round.

Texas’ Joseph Ossai is another intriguing prospect as a hybrid linebacker/edge guy with plenty of upside.

Defensive Back

There are a lot of questions about the future of the secondary with Stephon Gilmore’s future unknown, J.C. Jackson set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season (barring an extension) and Devin McCourty a retirement candidate after the year. It’s a position that the Patriot should address this weekend, though we all shutter with fear when we think about Belichick’s track record with DBs in the second round.

At corner, Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr. and Washington’s Elijah Molden are possibilities in the second round, with MSU’s Shakur Brown a potential pick in the third.

No safeties were drafted on Thursday night, so there are plenty available on Friday. Indiana’s Jamar Johnson, TCU’s Trevon Moehrig and UCF’s Richie Grant are options early on Friday night.

Offensive Tackle

Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown will both be free agents after the season, and it would be in New England’s best interest to get another tackle in the pipeline. Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins wasn’t taken Thursday, and could be a steal if he’s still on the board at No. 46.

If the Pats want to wait to take a tackle sometime late Friday night, Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa, Stone Forsythe of Florida and James Hudson of Cincinnati should be there for the taking.

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WBZ-TV will break down everything the Patriots do at the 2021 NFL Draft — plus we’ll hear from New England’s picks and head coach Bill Belichick — on a special edition of Patriots GameDay coming up Sunday at noon! 

CBSBoston.com Staff