Saturday, March 6, 2021

Pre-Free Agency New England Patriots 2021 NFL Mock Draft Roundup

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our New England Patriots Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the New England Patriots from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Patriots:

EDSFootball - Hanson (3/5)

15. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

Before opting out of the 2020 college season, there was a moment where the 244-pound linebacker was listed as Penn State's top kick returner. Even if perhaps by mistake, that highlights the type of athlete Parsons is. The versatile, three-down linebacker was a first-team AP All-American in 2019 and uses his athleticism, length and instincts to impact the game against the run, in coverage and as a blitzer.

ESPN - McShay (3/4)

15. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

I'm watching for the Patriots to add a quarterback via free agency or trade this offseason -- maybe Jimmy Garoppolo -- and potentially take a close look at the Day 2 options at the position. But with the top five off the board, another need matches up with some great value in the form of Parsons. The Penn State do-it-all linebacker opted out in 2020, but he can make plays in coverage, shoot gaps as a run-stopper, chase down ball carriers and even get home on the QB as a pass-rusher. I love his game.

Mike Reiss on his fit with the Patriots: Parsons would have the luxury of learning alongside Dont'a Hightower -- who returns from his own opt-out -- at the heart of the defense, giving him a cushion in which he wouldn't be relied upon too heavily initially before hopefully taking over in 2022. It's a similar situation to what New England did with Jerod Mayo in 2008, when Tedy Bruschi was passing him the torch.

CBS Sports - Trapasso (3/3)

22. Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami (FL)

After sliding back to get a few day two selections, the Patriots address their anemic pass rush with Phillips, a former No. 1 recruit in the nation.

The Athletic - Beat Writers (3/1)

15. Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

This was a tougher decision than anticipated, as Parsons might be the best defensive prospect in the draft. Coach Bill Belichick would love the idea of injecting Parsons' athleticism into the middle of his defense, and he has never been shy about spending quality picks at linebacker. The Patriots figure to add a few front-seven bodies through free agency and the draft, and Parsons should be a piece worth building around for the next decade. Add him into a young core with Josh Uche, Kyle Dugger, Anfernee Jennings and Chase Winovich, and the future will look bright. As for the tough part of the decision, Miami pass rusher Gregory Rousseau and Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw were very tempting. -- Jeff Howe

Touchdown Wire - Farrar (2/26)

15. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

There's an obvious need for a starting-level quarterback in Foxboro, but let's be honest -- if Tom Brady couldn't crack the Patriots' anemic receiver corps in 2019, what chance does anybody else have? It's time for Bill Belichick to go whole hog to fix his worst position group, and if Smith falls this far (perhaps due to concerns about his 175-pound frame?), the Pats should jump all over this one, put Smith in the slot so he doesn't have to get beaten up in press coverage, and let him do what he does in New England's multi-faceted option-heavy passing game. Smith had 46 slot receptions for 863 yards in 2020, and the skill set is easily transferable. Yes, he can play the X-iso role as well, and his getaway speed is ridiculous, so he'd be a perfect addition to a group in desperate need. - Casserly (2/25)

15. Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Pitts is too good of a talent to pass on, especially for an offense lacking playmakers. - Meinke (2/25)

15. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

There is no position that's more difficult to project to the NFL than quarterback. Luckily for Bill Belichick, his buddy Nick Saban happens to have coached one of the best in the country. Jones' final season at Alabama was really good, with 41 touchdown passes against just four interceptions. In fact, PFF liked his final season better than Tua Tagovailoa's last year. Jones won't go in the top four, but he's going to go higher than people think.

San Diego Union Tribune (2/24)

15. Christian Barmore, IDL, Alabama

This could certainly be a quarterback, but I believe the Patriots would prefer a veteran and they have plenty of cap space to address their lack of offensive weapons. Deatrich Wise Jr. and Lawrence Guy are both free agents with not much depth behind them. Most analysts considered Barmore a potential first-rounder on upside alone. He gave everyone a glimpse of that high ceiling by dominating Notre Dame and Ohio State -- two of the best offensive lines in the nation -- in the College Football Playoffs.

Previous update: New England Patriots Mock Draft Roundup 5.0

MORE TEAMS: All NFL Team Mock Draft Roundups

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