Patriots

Patriots projected to receive best 2020 compensatory NFL draft pick haul

Patriots projected to receive best 2020 compensatory NFL draft pick haul

The New England Patriots let several important players leave the team in NFL free agency, and while filling those roles won't be easy, there is a reward coming for the defending Super Bowl champs.

The Patriots are expected to receive four compensatory picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, according to Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com's projections released Monday.

New England is projected to get two third-round picks for losing defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Trent Brown, in addition to two sixth-round picks for the departures of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

The Pats are the only team projected to receive multiple third-round compensatory picks. The addition of these compensatory selections would give the Patriots a total of 14 picks in the 2020 draft.

Here's a rundown of each pick:

First round
Second round
Third round
Third round (projected compensatory)
Third round (projected compensatory)
Fourth round
Fourth round pick (via Chicago Bears)
Sixth round
Sixth round (projected compensatory)
Sixth round (projected compensatory)
Seventh round
Seventh round (via Philadelphia Eagles)
Seventh round (via Atlanta Falcons)
Seventh round (via Seattle Seahawks)

The Patriots selected 10 players in the 2019 NFL Draft, and it's easy to envision them picking 10+ in next year's draft, too. If Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is able to replace this offseason's departed free agents as well as he did with last year's, New England will be set up very well to extend its reign over the league by replenishing its depth at key positions with talented young players through the draft.

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These stats highlight the Patriots' excellence protecting the quarterback

These stats highlight the Patriots' excellence protecting the quarterback

The pillars of any good offense in the NFL most likely involve good quarterback play, a solid offensive line and a scheme that maximizes the strengths of its skill players. 

The Patriots have checked all of those boxes for almost two decades, and it's helped them win six Super Bowl championships and nine conference titles. Tom Brady has been the constant for the entire run of dominance and the offensive line's ability to keep a clean pocket has helped him play into his age-42 season. 

According to Connor Price of Pro Football Focus, the Patriots have the fourth-fewest quarterback pressures (2,001) in the league over the last 10 years, trailing only the Bengals (1,786), Saints (1,945) and Titans (1,957). The league-average for the last 10 years is 2,025 quarterback pressures.

Not only that, but New England also sports the fourth-best pressure rate over that span as well (25.4 percent), behind Cincinnati, New Orleans and Pittsburgh with the league average hovering around 28 percent.   

The Patriots have consistently invested in their offensive line and have the masterful Dante Scarnecchia overseeing the unit, but Brady executing the team's offensive scheme to perfection goes a long way in these stats as well. 

What makes Brady so good, among many things, is his ability to understand opposing defense's tendencies and concepts. This allows him to dissect what's happening in front of him quicker than basically any other quarterback and hit his receivers before pass rushers can finish their moves. 

Without Rob Gronkowski going into this season and seemingly more weapons on the outside than normal, it will be interesting to see if the Patriots' offensive line can continue to keep the pocket clean for Brady if he targets more downfield throws. 

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Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman pumped for Patriots camp to begin: 'School's back in session'

Julian Edelman warmed up for training camp Saturday by putting on a clinic in near 100-degree heat.

The Patriots wide receiver helped conduct his football clinic for about 600 boys and girls at Lincoln-Sudbury High School about 40 minutes north of Foxboro. The Super Bowl MVP compared Pats camp, which begins Thursday at Gillette Stadium, to school being back in session.

“I’m extremely excited for the new year. This is a new team. Training camp coming up, this is kind of like when school’s back in session," Edelman told reporters. "We had summer break, [now] you get to see all the fellas. This is where you learn your team and learn each other and become accountable for each other and work hard together and create a consistency together."

The undisputed veteran of a Patriots receiving corps that is short on big names beside himself, Edelman, 33, is ready to mentor young receivers, such as first-round pick N'Keal Harry. 

“This is like the beginning shape form of your team, these next few weeks. It’s a crucial point. We put a lot of hard work in during the spring, and the next step to playing other teams, so it’s definitely exciting.”

With tight end Rob Gronkowski retired, Edelman takes center stage as Tom Brady's favorite target. He led all Pats receivers with 850 yards in the regular season despite an NFL-imposed PED suspension that kept him out of the first four games. His 10-catch, 141-yard performance against the Rams in Super Bowl 53 earned him game MVP honors.

Starting Thursday, he'll lead a receiver group that includes few familiar names: Phillip Dorsett returns, Braxton Berrios is back from the practice squad, Harry is a top draft pick and free-agent signees Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and Maurice Harris are among those who've been added.