Drafting early-round wide receivers has been more miss than hit for Bill Belichick, but London is a top-15 talent who should elevate to the WR1 role early in his career for the Patriots. A former USC basketball player, the 6' 5" wideout uses his large frame and wide catch radius to dominate at the catch point.
Getting help for Mac Jones would be nice. But the image that will be burned into Bill Belichick's brain all offseason was the scoreboard from the playoff loss to the Bills and the helplessness the Patriots felt defending Josh Allen. Some teams might not know how to best unlock the 275-pound Walker's unusual skill set, but we believe he's an ideal fit in New England.
If anyone knows the value of a dominant nose tackle, it's Bill Belichick, who watched Vince Wilfork set the tone for his best units throughout the Patriots' dynasty. Davis has the size, athleticism and power to make a similar impact for the Pats in this generation.
The Patriots were second in passing yards allowed per game (187.1), tied for second in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.4) and second in interceptions (23). And they were one of three teams to keep opponents under 60% completion percentage. But the back seven could lose several starters to free agency, including cornerback J.C. Jackson, safety Devin McCourty and linebacker D'onta Hightower. It could also use an influx of speed in that area, of which Gordon has a ton. His versatility and ability to jump routes would also be welcome on one of the league's top defenses -- and he'd make the potential loss of Jackson a little easier to handle.
Linebacker and safety are two other areas to watch, and I'd watch how the receiver class is playing out as New England nears its pick. Ohio State's Chris Olave would give quarterback Mac Jones a smooth route runner with great separating speed. Alternatively, Alabama's Jameson Williams will likely miss some time but could end up the top receiver in the class. Bill Belichick would find ways to get the ball into his hands.
Throughout much of the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have boasted one of the NFL's best linebacker corps. His group is facing a potentially significant transition in 2022, however, with longtime standouts Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins among a handful of free agents at the position.
Lloyd lacks the bulk of most of the previous New England linebackers, but his instincts and playmaking ability are definitely befitting the Patriot Way.
No reason to waste (more) time before remedying 2019's first-round mistake with WR N'Keal Harry. Williams might be a top-10 pick had he not torn an ACL in the national championship loss to Georgia. He's a burner who was remarkably productive in 2021, averaging 100 receiving yards and a TD catch per game. The Ohio State transfer didn't play with Pats QB Mac Jones in Tuscaloosa, but -- as soon as he's healthy -- he has the goods to develop into the dominant target this team has long lacked.
* It's unclear if the 21/22 picks were the Raiders trading up a spot or if it was an inadvertent error in pick order.
The Patriots haven't exactly had a ton of success in drafting first-round receivers, but they still need to upgrade that position badly. Olave is a polished, highly productive pass catcher who can provide a field-stretching presence and the ability to get separation in high-leverage situations. He's a game-ready playmaker who'd provide a boost for Mac Jones.
It's impossible to project what the Patriots will do this far out from the Draft, but it is easy to connect the dots of how slow they looked on defense against the Bills with this upcoming draft class' strength on defense. Karlaftis looked like JJ Watt to start the ‘21 season before cooling off, but he has the player profile to fit the Patriots' defense to a T.
Pickens has an elite skill set as an outside playmaker and proved his work ethic coming back from a torn ACL in the spring to be a factor in the late stages of the Bulldogs' title run. He's worth the investment at this point of the first round.
Chenal isn't for everyone's scheme, but any of Belichick's disciples will love the skill set he brings to the table. The Wisconsin product has the block-beating ability and football IQ to seamlessly replace Dont'a Hightower. He recorded the highest run-defense grade and second-highest pass-rushing grade among linebackers in college football last year.