New England Patriots 2021 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 8.0
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:
Bill Belichick went on a shopping spree in free agency that included some WR2/WR3 types, but Smith would immediately become the team's most talented receiver. An outstanding route-runner, the sure-handed receiver has been been uber-productive over the past two years. If Smith had declared last year, he would have joined Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy as first-round receivers. This year, he'll join teammate Jaylen Waddle as a first-rounder.
Despite the star-studded receiving corps, it was Smith that led the team in receiving yards (1,256) and touchdowns (14) last season. This year, the Heisman Trophy winner really stepped up with the injury to Waddle and led the FBS in receptions (117) and yards (1,856) and was second in touchdowns (23).
Even after the Niners' move up the board, it doesn't appear Jimmy Garoppolo is in the cards this season for the Patriots. And while they brought back Cam Newton, the veteran is only signed for a year at $3.5 million guaranteed. The Pats haven't spent a first-round pick on a QB since 1993 (Drew Bledsoe), but now is the time. Fields is accurate downfield and can develop into a top-tier starter for a team searching for stability at the position in the post-Tom Brady era.
The Patriots were surprisingly active early in free agency, improving at wide receiver, tight end and along the offensive and defensive lines. But adding Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne shouldn't prohibit New England from trying to add a game-changing receiver. The speedy Waddle provides a yard-after-catch threat the Patriots have been sorely lacking.
The 49ers trade all the way up to three had ripple effects not only throughout the draft but possibly in the QB market as Jimmy G. may now be on the move and if so, I fully expect Bill Belichick to be in line for his services. So with that said and all five QBs gone at this point, Belichick does what he has a propensity of doing and drafts a player a year before the team has a perceived need at that position. There are rumblings, however, that they may move former South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore this offseason, which would open up an immediate spot for Horn, but either way Belichick takes Horn as Gilmore's eventual replacement.
It was clear Cam Newton isn't the long-term answer at quarterback last season. Jones certainly benefitted from a great supporting cast in Tuscaloosa, but he's an accurate, decisive passer who finished third in the Heisman Trophy race and earned positive reviews for his week of practices at the Senior Bowl.
The Patriots went on an uncharacteristically wild free-agent spending spree, bringing in new faces at just about every position. That frenzy should give the team the ability to pick less for need than for value at this spot in the draft. Barmore fits the bill, as he has the talent to contribute to New England's defensive line rotation from day one.
The Patriots aren't in range for any of the top quarterbacks, so instead they could try to get some help for whoever they put under center, whether it's Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham or another veteran. In this scenario, Bill Belichick gets a quality receiver who played under good friend Nick Saban. Jaylen Waddle is recovering from a broken ankle (he played a bit in the national championship game in January, though), but when healthy, he's a speedy threat who can turn a short slant into a long touchdown.