The 2018 NFL Draft is now under a week away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into the NFL Draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. You will find it here. Draftmas will continue with the New England Patriots 2018 NFL Draft profile.
New England made it to the Super Bowl again last season but were unable to keep up with the Philadelphia Eagles. They had a good season, but losing in the biggest game of the year created an offseason that has been far from normal.
The Patriots averaged the second most points in the league at 28.6 points per game. They ranked in the top 10 in both passing (second) and rushing (10th). Tom Brady is expected to be back for next season, even though reports have come out this week that he hasn’t committed to it yet. Brian Hoyer is his backup and is in his second stint in New England, meaning he should be able to run the offense decently well if Brady gets hurt, or opts for retirement.
Brandin Cooks was traded to the Rams and Danny Amendola signed with the Dolphins, meaning new wideouts will be needed. Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman return, although Edelman will have to prove he is back from his torn ACL. Jordan Matthews was signed to help bolster the receiving core, but they will likely need to add more in the draft.
Rob Gronkowski has been in headlines all offseason for contemplating retirement and for possibly being on the trading block. Odds are he returns. The offensive line will look a lot different next season as Nate Solder and Cameron Flemming are no longer Patriots.
The running backs are mostly the same, but Dion Lewis left for the Titans. Jeremy Hill was added to the crew in which no one knows who will produce on any given game.
While the defense struggled early in the season, they recovered to finish fifth in the league in points allowed. Adrian Clayborne and Danny Shelton were acquired to bolster the defensive line that was notably pretty weak in 2017. They now have turned it into a solid unit that even has a little bit of depth.
The linebackers did not perform well last season, but there is some talent at the position in Donta’ Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. Malcolm Butler was signed by the Titans, so Jason McCourty was acquired, but they still need a few good young corners. Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are solid safeties, but they aren’t among the best in the NFL.
There has been a lot of change to the roster this offseason, but with the right moves in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Patriots could make it to another Super Bowl.
Picks and Needs
The Patriots have eight picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, five of which are in the first three rounds. This is a luxury they haven’t had in a while.
First round (2 picks): 23, 31
Second round (2): 43, 63
Third round (1): 95
Fourth round (0):
Fifth round (0):
Sixth round (2): 198, 210
Seventh round (1): 219
Quarterback- Who knows how long Brady can play for? Hoyer is a good backup, but after trading Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett a new young quarterback to develop is needed.
Offensive Tackle- With both Solder and Flemming gone, the Patriots need to get a tackle who they can trust to protect Brady for the rest of his career. There aren’t a lot of great tackle prospects in this draft class, so they will need to strike gold.
Wide Receiver- The Patriots have a few solid wide receivers in Edelman, Hogan and Matthews, but should add more to the roster. A young target who could develop into a number one would be a nice addition to the roster.
Defensive Tackle- Shelton and Malcolm Brown make a decent tandem, but depth is needed. They will also need a player to rush on passing downs.
Linebacker- Hightower and Van Noy had down years and they’ll, at the very least, want to get a third linebacker.
Cornerback- McCourty is a solid replacement for Butler, but he isn’t the youngest. With so many picks early in the draft, they should use one on a corner.
Pick No. 23: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The going rumor for the first round is that the Patriots love Lamar Jackson. With Brady’s career winding down, they do need to add a plan for the future. With Bill Belichick’s genius, they could use Jackson before ever making him the starting quarterback. Sitting and learning behind one of the best quarterbacks of all time is a great way to start a career.
Pick No. 31: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
To address the losses on the offensive line, the Patriots can select a tackle at the end of the first round. Williams is athletic, but has short arms and isn’t the strongest. New England will have to develop him, like any other tackle in the class, but could turn him into a great lineman.
Pick No. 43: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
With the departure of Malcolm Butler, Oliver can be the new young corner on the Patriots. He is lengthy, but slight and will need to add length to his frame. With time he can grow into a shutdown corner.
Pick No. 63: Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
Jefferson has good athletic ability and speed, but could never seemingly put it all together at Texas. New England’s coaching staff should be able to get the most out of him.
Pick No. 95: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
St. Brown is tall and fast, but needs improved route-running. Playing with Brady will immediately help him out and make him a good pro.