It isn't hyperbole when saying that the 2021 NFL Draft is the most important draft for the New England Patriots in nearly 30 years. For the past two decades, Bill Belichick and company were simply sprinkling in complementary/developmental pieces to what was already a runaway train heading to the Super Bowl led by Tom Brady. After a 7-9 season during the first year of the post-Brady era in 2020, however, New England finds itself as one of the have-nots at the most important position in the sport: quarterback. That's why this draft carries such weight. Armed with the No. 15 overall pick, the Patriots are looked at as one of the teams who could be a major player for one of this year's top quarterback prospects and possibly even trade up to acquire him.
While only time will tell if that aggressiveness we saw from the club in free agency will be matched at the draft, the odds surrounding New England's approach is worth a gander as we await the official start of the first round. Below, you'll find all the Patriots-related team props for the NFL Draft brought to you by our friends over at William Hill Sportsbook.
Who will be the first non-QB off the board? And which running back will get drafted first? Get 10 best bets and five long-shot value plays on NFL Draft props from SportsLine's No. 1 NFL expert, who is 7-3 on his top five NFL Draft picks over the last two years and hit Baker Mayfield going No. 1 at 25-to-1 odds in 2018!
Odds on position of Patriots' first pick
- Offense -200
- Defense +165
This is pretty tight relative to some of the other team-related position props. While the Patriots are pegged as a team that could target a quarterback in the first round, there's no guarantee that one will be there at No. 15. If the top-five prospects at the position are off the board inside the top 10 and New England cannot trade up, it'll require the organization to pivot, opening the door for Bill Belichick to possibly take advantage of the QB runoff and snag one of this class' better defenders who falls onto their lap. Of course, even if the team is able to -- or choose not to -- select a quarterback in the first round, that doesn't completely erase the possibility of the team picking an offensive player as wide receiver is another position of need that could be filled there.
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Odds on exact position of Patriots' first pick
- Quarterback +170
- Linebacker +280
- Wide receiver +350
- Cornerback +550
- Offensive lineman +1200
- Defensive lineman +1800
- Safety +2000
- Running back +5000
- Tight end +6000
- Kick/punter/long snapper +50000
This really just revolves around whether or not you believe the Patriots will trade up for a quarterback. Despite the odds being most favorable toward the team targeting a signal-caller in the first round, there does seem to be a growing belief that the Patriots would need to trade up to land one. If they stick at No. 15, that's where other positions start to come into play, possibly bringing some value to linebacker (+280) and wide receiver (+350) as prospects like Micah Parsons, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith could all be on the board. The other variable for New England is the possibility of trading down. If that's the route they decide to go down, cornerback (+550) along with offensive (+1200) and defensive linemen (+1800) are in play.
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Over/under draft position for potential Patriots targets
- QB Trey Lance: O/U 6.5
- LB Micah Parsons: O/U 12.5
- WR Jaylen Waddle: O/U 11.5
- WR DeVonta Smith: O/U 11.5
- CB Caleb Farley: O/U 20.5
All of these prospects that are currently on the board at William Hill dance around the Patriots' current position at No. 15. Lance is an intriguing prospect that would be an ideal fit for New England, but his 6.5 O/U total suggests that the team would have to trade up for his services. While Belichick could trade up in this draft, leaping that high may be too much of an ask. As we noted above, if the quarterbacks are all off the board and the Patriots are standing there at No. 15, Parsons, Waddle and/or Smith could all be available due to the QB market pushing those talents further down the board, triggering all of their Overs. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's Caleb Farley is an interesting situation to watch unfold on draft night. He was widely looked at as the top player at his position but a back procedure that needed to be done earlier in the pre-draft process has since sent his stock falling. If the Patriots elect to trade down with a team in the late teens or early 20s, the corner would be an intriguing target that Belichick could see value in, especially with the futures of Stephon Gilmore (one year remaining on current contract) and J.C. Jackson (tendered for 2021) murky.