Fans want Patriots to double up at QB in Twitter mock NFL draft
Over the weekend, we asked you to vote for your Patriots draft picks via Twitter poll. We dialed up the Pro Football Focus mock draft simlulator — which allows for trades up and down — and offered up choices based on the best available players and perceived areas of need.
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After thousands of votes were tallied, here’s what you came up with.
No. 37: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame
The fans filled a need right off the bat. First, you made the call to trade down and out of the first round. Even with Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray and Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa available. That trade meant you received pick No. 37 and No. 71 from the Chargers. (And wouldn't you know, that's exactly the trade the Patriots made on Thursday night.)
Then, with No. 37, you grabbed the "safest" tight end prospect in this year's class. Kmet has plenty of size. His 4.7-second 40 (80th percentile), 37-inch vertical (90th percentile) and 123-inch broad jump (92nd percentile) are very good numbers for someone with his frame. On his build and athleticism alone, he's an ideal Patriots fit. He was the choice over other “prototypes” like USC receiver Michael Pittman, Notre Dame outside linebacker Julian Okwara and Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson.
No. 55: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
After packaging two of your four thirds (No. 71 and No. 98), you moved up into the back end of the second round to grab . . . a quarterback. Hurts spent four years in college, starting at Alabama under Nick Saban and transferring after Tua Tagovailoa won the quarterback job for good. He's not thought of as one of the most natural throwers in the class, but he has a career completion percentage of 65.1 to go along with a 9.1 yards-per-attempt figure and a 4-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
A leader with tremendous football character — someone who had to deal with failure on the college game's biggest stage, but handled it with class and maturity — Hurts is far from a finished product, but he seems like New England's type, and he’d provide its offense an element it has never had. Hurts was the fan choice over Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks, Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool and Alabama outside linebacker Terrell Lewis (who was leading the pool with about a minute remaining in the voting).
No. 87: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida
Sticking with the offense here, as fans are wont to do. Can’t blame you, though. This particular receiver is exciting to consider as a future Patriot. He’s an exceptional route-runner with good speed and reliable hands. He landed a whopping 60 percent of the vote to beat out UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart, Clemson defensive back K’Von Wallace and Ohio State defensive lineman Davon Hamilton.
Jefferson’s dad, Shawn, spent three years with the Patriots in the 90s and is now the receivers coach for the Jets.
No. 100: Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming
Front-seven help arrives at the end of the third round. Passing on freaky-athletic edge defender Jabari Zuniga from Florida, mountainous defensive tackle Leki Fotu from Utah and Jarrett Stidham’s old offensive tackle Prince Tago Wanogho from Auburn, you went with a Mountain West marvel.
A three-year starter and two-year captain, Wilson had all kinds of production for the Cowboys. Plus, his height, weight and athletic testing numbers made him a “prototype” for us this year.
No. 125: Jonathan Garvin, EDGE, Miami
The Patriots have found plenty of contributors in the fourth round in recent years, including defensive ends Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise. You voted for another fourth-round edge guy here in Garvin, whose nickname is “Spider” thanks to length (34-inch arms). Only 20 years old, Garvin has an impressive physical skill set (some of the most explosive jumps among edge types at this year’s combine) and still has room to grow.
He was the choice over Georgia safety J.R. Reed, Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin Agim and Kansas offensive lineman Hakeem Adeniji.
No. 172: Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Georgia
The Patriots don’t love making picks in the fifth, based on their history. But when they do, they love drafting specialists. The fans loved that idea here, taking the kicker who many consider to be the best in this year’s class.
In taking Blankenship, fans passed on other future “teams” contributors like Virginia receiver Joe Reed, Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara and Clemson safety Tanner Muse.
No. 204: Jon Runyan, OL, Michigan
The Patriots look like they’re all set with their starting five up front, but they could use depth. Last year’s draft picks Yodny Cajuste and Hjalte Froholdt misses their rookie season injured. Ted Karras signed with the Dolphins. Grabbing depth in Runyan, a very good athlete who was named the Big Ten’s top left tackle each of the last two years, makes sense — particularly since he could have some flexibility to play both guard and tackle. They’ll have some good insight on Runyan thanks to Josh McDaniels’ brother, Ben, working on the Wolverines staff.
Runyan edged out athletic and versatile tight end Dalton Keene from Virginia Tech in the voting.
No. 212: James Morgan, QB, Florida International
No. 213: Daniel Thomas, S, Auburn
Doubling up on quarterbacks? In the same draft? Sounds crazy. But maybe the fans are crazy like foxes... On Day 3 of the draft, where contributors are hard to find, throwing a dart at the game’s most important position isn’t a terrible idea. Remember, the Patriots had four quarterbacks during Tom Brady’s rookie season. Worked out OK. Morgan has a strong arm, and he’s a bright guy. Is he accurate? Not always. But he’s an intriguing match for New England nonetheless.
Thomas, meanwhile, was assigned to pick No. 213 since he came in second to Morgan on the pick No. 212 fan vote. The athletic safety from Auburn looks like a core special teamer who could eventually challenge for time defensively at a spot where the starters are getting up there in age.
No. 230: Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue
Bailey is a sensible risk-reward pick by the fans here. To grab a sound run-game player with toughness and a high-end football IQ this late on Day 3? That’s a win. But the reason Bailey is even available here is that he has two torn ACLs on his résumé (2015, 2019). If it wasn’t for the injury concerns, he’d be taken much higher.
He was the leading vote-getter here over added offensive line depth (Clemson’s Gage Cervenka), another long-armed edge defender (South Carolina’s D.J. Wonnum) and a big body to pair with Lawrence Guy on the defensive line (Texas Tech’s Broderick Washington).
No. 241: K.J. Osborn, WR, Miami
A slot receiver headed to New England in the seventh round? Where have we heard that before? Right: Julian Edelman in 2009, Jeremy Ebert in 2012 and Jeremy Gallon in 2014. Osborn spent three years at Buffalo, then transferred to Miami and was quickly named a captain. He’ll be tough over the middle and could be a punt-return option.
He wasn’t the most impressive athlete available here. Safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy, offensive lineman Arlington Hambright and edge man Derrek Tuszka all tested as better physical specimens at their positions. But the fans want what the fans want. Here they wanted Osborn.
No defensive line picks for the Patriots was surprising after what happened in the Wild Card Round in January, but the two off-the-ball linebackers drafted should help in that area...
The offensive line and tight end spots are in a place where perhaps a second pick to address those would’ve made sense...
Feels unlike New England to come away from a draft with no corners, but that’s one of the deepest positions on the roster so not entirely mind-blowing...
Nice mix of safe picks here (Kmet, Jefferson, Runyan) as well as high-ceiling shots (Hurts, Garvin, Bailey) as the Patriots hope to add to a thin young core.