The 2019 NFL Draft is coming up, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The New England Patriots will be the 28th team evaluated.
The New England Patriots were Super Bowl champions last season. They were the number two overall seed with a 12-4 record, beating the Chargers, Chiefs and Rams on the way to their sixth Super Bowl title.
New England scored 27.3 points per game last season, good for fourth best in the NFL. They were a well-balanced offense, ranking eighth in the passing game and fifth in rushing yards. Tom Brady wasn’t as terrific as he has been the last three or four seasons and did have a couple of off game. However, Brady still had a very good season, completing over 65 percent of his passes for over 4,300 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He will come back next year, but will be 42 and closer to retiring. The rushing attack is in a good situation, as rookie Sony Michel was very productive when healthy, both in the regular season and the playoffs. James White is still a reliable pass-catching back. As far as the receiving corps goes, it needs work. Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski retired and the only returning receiver they can truly count on is Julian Edelman. It is still possible that Josh Gordon returns, as the Pats placed a qualifying offer on him.
The New England Patriots defense, while not great in terms of yards allowed, were still top ten points wise. They allowed only 20.3 points per game, good for seventh in the league. However, the pass rush was very underwhelming and does not benefit whatsoever from losing versatile defensive end Trey Flowers. New England had only 21 sacks and seven ten forced fumbles on the season. Flowers had 7.5 of those sacks and three of those forced fumbles. While they did add Pro-Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett via trade, the Pats still need some defensive line help.
The outside linebackers are set with Dont’a Hightower returning and Kyle Van Noy on the other side. However, they could stand to add a middle linebacker through the draft. The secondary is a reliable part of the defense. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is coming off an All-Pro season and Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung are holding down the fort at safety.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
The New England Patriots have 12 draft picks this year to continue building their team.
First round (one pick): No. 32
Second round (two picks): No. 56, No. 64
Third round (three picks): No. 73, No. 97, No. 101
Fourth round (one pick): No. 134
Sixth round (one pick): No. 205
Seventh round (four picks): No. 239, No. 243, No. 246, No. 252
Wide Receiver– Julian Edelman is the only sure thing at receiver, with Josh Gordon’s return unsure and Philip Dorsett’s production questionable. They need a true threat on the outside.
Defensive End- Michael Bennett is a nice short term addition, the Patriots need someone across for him as well as linemen for the future.
Quarterback- Tom Brady will be 42 years old entering the 2019 season. At some point he has to retire, right?
Offensive Tackle- Trent Brown left via free agency and Isaiah Wynn, his replacement, missed his entire 2018 rookie season with a torn Achilles. At worst, they need a swing tackle in case of injury to either Wynn or 31-year-old Marcus Cannon.
Tight End- With Rob Gronkowski gone, New England has a big hole to fill at the tight end position, both blocking-wise and catching passes.
Defensive Tackle- With Malcolm Brown departing in free agency, they need to add a solid second defensive tackle.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 32: Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa
The New England Patriots need a tight end badly and Noah Fant would be a good selection if he reaches New England at the last pick of the first round. They might even consider trading up for him. Fant is extremely athletic and fast with a high vertical. He is a great target to have near the end zone and on third down. While he needs to improve when it comes to attacking physicality, both while blocking and on routes, he is still a solid pass blocker.
Pick No. 56: Charles Omenihu, Edge Rusher, Texas
Omenihu is an athletic defensive end who has the physical traits to be a productive pass rusher in the National Football League. He had 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss last season in the Big 12 due to his raw athletic ability. However, he does need to work on his pass rushing technique to make it in the NFL. If there is anyone who can coach up an athletic defensive player, though, it’s Bill Belichick.
Pick No. 64: Emanuel Hall, Wide Receiver, Missouri
Hall would be perfect for the New England Patriots because he is primarily a deep threat who can take the top off defenses, which is exactly what they need. He has high-end speed to get past corners but also has the lateral quickness to run lower-level routes, such as slants.
Pick No. 73: Tytus Howard, Offensive Tackle, Alabama St.
Tytus Howard is another player who has the necessary tools and athleticism to be a good offensive tackle in the league, but needs to work on his technique. He can start out as the swing tackle backup and eventually take over if the Patriots need a replacement at the position. He played in a weak conference but played well in his few opportunities against Power 5 competition.
Pick No. 97: Clayton Thorson, Quarterback, Northwestern
Thorson is a tall, fluid passer with a good release and solid footwork. He has the ability to read a defense and make good short and medium level throws. A lot of his weaknesses are inconsistencies in his play and intangibles such as feeling pocket pressure and escaping sacks. However, sitting behind Tom Brady and learning from the quarterback with arguably the best intangibles in the game could be very beneficial. Watching Brady could teach Thorson to stay calm and consistent with his play as well as have better feel in the pocket.
Pick No. 101: Kingsley KeKe, Defensive Tackle, Texas A&M
Addressing defensive tackle with one of their six picks in the top three rounds is important. He is a good run stopper and can both clog up lanes as well as make shifty tackles. Having dominant run-stoppers inside has been key to New England’s defense for years. In addition, KeKe is an inconsistent pass rusher but has the ability to surprise offensive linemen and explode into the backfield at times.
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