2019 NFL Draft: New England Patriots team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch
With their 2018 season over, it's time for Patriots fans to turn their attention to the draft
Another year, another Patriots championship. It's not even a surprise at this point because as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are on the sidelines, New England will always be among the AFC's best. Yes, they have weaknesses but they also have the best coach and quarterback in NFL history, which goes a long way in making up for other shortcomings.
Here's what you need to know about the New England Patriots and the 2019 NFL Draft.
2019 draft picks
- Round 1: New England
- Round 2: New England, Chicago
- Round 3: Detroit
- Round 4: New England
- Round 5: None
- Round 6: None
- Round 7: New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland
The Patriots received the Bears' 2019 second-round pick as part of the deal that allowed Chicago to draft Anthony Miller last year. The team received the Lions' third-rounder after trading a 2018 fourth-rounder that allowed Detroit to select Da'Shawn Hand. The Pats sent their '19 third-rounder to Cleveland as part of a trade that sent Danny Shelton to New England. Their fifth-round pick also went to Cleveland in the Josh Gordon deal, and their sixth-round pick went to Detroit in exchange for Johnson Bademosi. The Eagles sent their '18 and '19 seventh-round picks to the Pats for New England's '18 seventh-rounder, and the Patriots also picked up a seventh-rounder in the Gordon trade.
Biggest offseason needs
- Pass rusher
- Interior defensive line
- Wide receiver
- Tight end
For as efficient as the Patriots were defensively during the Super Bowl, their defensive line was one of the league's worst during the regular season. And with Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown in the final year of their deals, bolstering the front four will be a priority.
On offense, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett are also headed for free agency -- and we don't yet know if Rob Gronkowski will finally retire. Which means that New England will need to give Brady a new fleet of downfield playmakers. And while there's no indication that Brady will in fact call it a career anytime soon, don't be surprised if the Pats look to add depth at quarterback too.
Prospects to watch
Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Polite came out of nowhere in 2018 for the Gators. He finished his junior season with 11 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Polite is powerfully and compactly built, and reminiscent of James Harrison -- but with more athleticism.
Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Sweat doesn't have Nick Bosa's athleticism and isn't nearly as dynamic, but he'll likely be on the board late in Round 1. And don't be fooled, Sweat can play; he had 11.5 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss during his senior season. That was the encore to his junior campaign, which featured 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Simmons regularly requires double-teams and even then is hard to stop. He has non-stop motor and that, coupled linebacker-like sideline-to-sideline mobility means he's never out of a play. He routinely splits blockers on stretch plays to make tackles in backfield, and he has the ability to disengage from blocks to make tackles too. One of the best athletes in the draft, Simmons is adept against the run and the pass who is best described as a disruptive backfield presence.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
With Justin Herbert returning to college, teams will again take a much closer look at Jones, who could be the No. 2 quarterback in this class behind Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins. There's no denying that Jones has the potential to be a very good NFL quarterback. He's sneaky athletic (Jones rushed for 186 yards against UNC) and surprisingly fast when he decides to run. He also gets the ball out quickly and accurately, regularly keeps his eyes downfield as pocket closes in around him, and is able to deliver accurate throws despite pressure. He sometimes struggles with downfield throws but routinely goes throw his progressions, which will appeal to NFL teams. Also worth knowing: Jones plays for David Cutcliffe, who is considered a quarterbacks guru and oh-by-the-way, is close to Peyton and Eli Manning.
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
Harmon is one of the best wide receivers in this class and is coming off his second 1,000-yard season for the Wolfpack. He has the ability to get in and out of breaks, sets up cornerbacks with his footwork, can make contested catches, and is a physical after-the-catch runner who also happens to be a willing blocker.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The most athletic tight end in this draft class, Fant was underutilized at Iowa; he had just 39 receptions for 518 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018 but he's a playmaker in the mold of Evan Engram or George Kittle, and would give the Patriots a much-needed playmaker in the middle of the field.
Devin White, LB, LSU
White is one of the most dynamic players in the draft. He's a sideline-to-sideline thumper who would immediately solidify the middle of the defense, making life easier for both the front four and the secondary. White is sometimes a split-second slow to diagnose what's happening in front of him but has the first-step athleticism to make up for it.
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