Patriots

2020 NFL Draft: Best available talent Patriots could target on Day 3

2020 NFL Draft: Best available talent Patriots could target on Day 3

In adding two edge defenders (Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings), two tight ends (Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene), and a safety (second round pick Kyle Dugger), the Patriots addressed a number of needs on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

But by no means are they done. Nick Caserio has said the team will add a third quarterback. In a draft with a deep class of wide receivers, New England hasn't added one yet. The team still has no kicker.

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New England enters Rounds 4-7 of the draft on Saturday armed with six selections. Here's what Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and company have at their disposal:

  • Round 4: no picks
  • Round 5: No. 159
  • Round 6: Nos. 195, 204, 212, 213
  • Round 7: No. 230

Currently, the Patriots won't be on the clock until 52 players have already come off the board, so it won't be a surprise to see the team trade up into Round 4 if they identify good value. (And when is it ever a surprise to see a draft day trade from Belichick?)

Our Phil Perry has identified the following players as the best ones available heading into Day 3. Their scouting reports are taken from Phil's Prototypical Patriots series. Could any of them land in Foxboro?

QUARTERBACK

Jake Fromm, Georgia: Fromm's arm strength is generally regarded as below average, but he's very accurate and takes care of the football. He completed 63.3 percent of his passes in college and racked up a 36-7 record.

Anthony Gordon, Washington State: Gordon only started one year under Mike Leach in Pullman. But he completed over 70 percent of his passes and had a 48-to-16 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions.

Jake Luton, Oregon State: With 28 touchdown passes and only three interceptions last season, Luton was one of only three QBs in the country with at least 25 TDs and three picks or fewer,

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn: Wanogho is still pretty raw, but he played both right and left tackle at Auburn. An interesting project who might take time to develop.

Ben Bartch, St. John's (Minn.): Like the Patriots' second round pick Kyle Dugger, Bartch hails from a small school, but don't discount him. He opened eyes at the Senior Bowl, with Jim Nagy saying he "moved up multiple rounds" based on his performance.

WIDE RECEIVER

Darnell Mooney, Tulane: Mooney didn't do agility drills in Indianapolis, but he has impressive explosiveness (4.38-second 40, jumped 37 inches in the vertical and 124 inches in the broad.)

K.J. Hill, Ohio State: Only Denzel Mims won more of his one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl than Hill, who has already met with Troy Brown at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

K.J. Osborn, Miami: After transferring from Buffalo, Osborn was a captain for the Hurricanes and led the team with 50 receptions and five touchdowns. He also has return experience.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan: Peoples-Jones has impressive size at 6-2, 212 and he has punt return experience, traits that could interest the Patriots on Day 3.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Leki Fotu, Utah: At 6-5, 330, Fotu is a classic nose tackle and could fill the gap left by Danny Shelton in free agency.

Rashard Lawrence, LSU: He's a little undersized in terms of his height, but his long arms (34 inches) and massive paws (11 inches) will play at the next level as a run-focused five-technique.

Broderick Washington, Texas Tech: A two-time captain and a three-year starter, he seems like a high-character late-round add. He's not quite as explosive or as long as Lawrence, but on Day 3, he might make some sense. 

LINEBACKER 

Dante Olson, Montana: Olson was a first-team all-conference selection and an FCS All-American in both 2018 and 2019. He was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the year last season with 179 tackles (best in the country) that included 11 for a loss, as well as 3.5 sacks and a pick.

Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State: The Missouri Valley Defensive Player of the Year, Tuszka tested well with a 4.79 40, a 120-inch broad and a blazing 6.87-second three-cone. If he's not a defensive fit, he could end up a late-round special-teams option. 

DEFENSIVE BACK

Darnay Holmes, UCLA: Holmes had eight career picks for the Bruins, including one when he cut off N'Keal Harry's route and took it back for a touchdown. Holmes, who clocked a 4.48-second 40, offers return ability as well.

Troy Pride Jr., Notre Dame: A four-time state champ in track and field in high school, it comes as no surprise that Pride's deep speed is his calling card. Per PFF, he allowed just six of 38 deep (20 yards or more) targets to be completed in his college career.

Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame: Gilman had three interceptions and six forced fumbles in two years in South Bend, but special teams might be his best chance in the NFL, at least to start.

Geno Stone, Iowa: An instinctive free safety from a program led by one of Bill Belichick's old assistants (Kirk Ferentz), Stone is one of Pro Football Focus' favorite safeties in the class, compiling an elite 91.8 coverage grade on 883 coverage snaps.

K'Von Wallace, Clemson: Pro Football Focus docked him for just 18 missed tackles on 171 career attempts, making him one of the best tackling defensive backs in the country. Special teams could be where he makes his mark early.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin: Biadasz didn't test at the combine after having shoulder surgery this offseason. But Biadasz was a three-year starter for a program that loved to run the football, and he won the Remington Trophy as the best center in the country last year.

Nick Harris, Washington: A starter for more than three years at both guard and center, Harris might be a tad undersized to slow down behemoth NFL defensive linemen. Still, he's an athlete and should be able to get wherever he needs to in order to be effective in the NFL. Plus, he graduated from Tom Brady's alma mater, Junipero Serra HS.

Netane Muti, Fresno State: Achilles and Lisfranc injuries cut his college career short — he only played in five games over the last two seasons. But he has freakish strength, with 44 reps of 225 pounds, the fourth-highest total in combine history at any position.

Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

The New England Patriots already have had eight players opt out of the 2020 NFL season, and few would blame Bill Belichick -- the oldest head coach in the league at 68 -- if he made a similar decision.

So, did concerns about COVID-19 lead Belichick to consider not coaching in 2020? It doesn't appear so.

"I feel very good about the environment that we're in," Belichick said Friday in a video conference with reporters. "I feel fine."

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Belichick also confirmed no coaches on his staff have backed out of the 2020 season.

The Patriots are in the "acclimation period" of training camp, with players going through non-padded walk-throughs outside Gillette Stadium as they ramp up for their first padded practice on Aug. 17.

According to Belichick, the players and staff in the building feel confident in their safety so far.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I think my impression is that as an organization, as a coaching staff, the support people, the players -- there's a comfort level with what we're doing and who's doing it and how we're doing it, and we're being productive," Belichick said.

"So, if concerns or problems come up, then we'll address those. But right now, I think it's a good working environment. We're getting a lot done."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The Patriots, like every other team, have to follow rigorous safety protocols that include frequent COVID-19 tests, temperature checks and physical distancing measures. That "new normal" will take some getting used to, but Belichick believes the protocols have helped create an environment that coaches and staff feel safe in.

"The organization has taken a lot of steps to ensure everyone's safety and opportunity to do their job and do it safely and do it productively," Belichick said. 

"Certainly there's a lot of responsibility on each one of us to do things in a way that doesn't affect others negatively, that we take the proper precautions that we can and should, so that's what we're doing."

Mohamed Sanu shouts out Cam Newton in Patriots practice Instagram post

Mohamed Sanu shouts out Cam Newton in Patriots practice Instagram post

Mohamed Sanu finally doesn't have to fly across the country to work out with his new quarterback.

The New England Patriots began Phase 1 of training camp this week by hitting the practice field as a team outside Gillette Stadium.

That means Cam Newton joined his Patriots teammates in an official capacity for the first time, and Sanu seems pretty excited about having his new quarterback in the building.

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Here's the Instagram shout-out Sanu gave Newton Thursday on Instagram via a photo of the two in Patriots gear at training camp:

View this post on Instagram

Beannnn & Ace booogie wit da hoodie

A post shared by Mohamed Sanu Sr. (@mohamedsanu) on

Sanu and Newton teamed up for informal throwing sessions in Los Angeles just days after the 31-year-old quarterback signed with the Patriots in free agency and appeared to develop a strong connection.

Like Newton, Sanu has a lot to prove this season after an ankle injury plagued his 2019 campaign with New England. The 30-year-old sprained his ankle in his second game with the Patriots last season after a midseason trade from the Atlanta Falcons and caught three passes or fewer in his final six games of the season.

Sanu projects to be the Patriots' No. 2 wide receiver this season behind Julian Edelman, so if he can stay healthy, he could go a long way in helping Newton and the Patriots finding success this season despite a wave of player opt-outs.