Patriots' seven-round mock draft 2.0
We have to have some idea of what it is the Patriots are looking for on draft weekend, right? Nineteen years of draft history in New England for Bill Belichick should help us in that regard. It's still a humbling exercise to try to predict exactly what the Patriots will do on draft weekend -- especially when they have a cadre of picks to maneuver around the board -- but we use the information we've been given and have some fun with the guessing game.
You can find our first seven-round Patriots-specific mock draft here. But this time around we have some data from the NFL Scouting Combine with which to work, helping to inform our choices. As we did with our first effort, we'll make 12 picks, even though it's highly unlikely the Patriots take a dozen players. The point of the exercise here is to try to give you a sense of which players fit the team and in which rounds they may come off the board. The more names, the more we can familiarize ourselves with potential Patriots, the better.
No. 32: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
This is a really deep draft when it comes to help along the defensive line but if Lawrence is available here, he's a rare enough physical specimen (6-foot-4, 342 pounds, 35-inch arms, 5.0-second 40-yard dash) that he'd be worth a first-round pick. The Patriots need to replace Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton somehow, and Lawrence would be an immediate plug-and-play option.
No. 56 (from Chicago): Charles Omenihu, EDGE, Texas
Length, length and more length. That's what Omenihu would bring Belichick's front. At 6-5, 280 pounds, Omenihu is a well-built defensive lineman who spent a great deal of time on the edge as well as on the interior in college. His 36-inch arms allow him to press off of blockers, and then his unyielding motor carries him to the football. He ran a 4.92 40 and a 4.36 short shuttle, and he jumped 36.5 inches in the vertical and 115 inches in the broad jump -- all numbers that the Patriots would take from their edge defenders, certainly one tipping the scales at 280. His 7.48 three-cone time doesn't bode well for his ability to turn the corner at the next level, but the Patriots seem to be trending toward long, powerful, bull-rushing try-hard linemen rather than bendy ones. If they can collapse pockets and let their high-priced defenders in the secondary do their thing on the back end, that's a formula that can work.
No. 64: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
The Patriots would be shifting away from their tendencies in terms of what they typically draft in receivers if they went with Ridley here. He ran a 4.58-second 40. He jumped only 30.5 inches in the vertical and his three-cone drill wasn't impressive at 7.22 seconds. He may fall outside of the athletic profile that the Patriots are comfortable drafting at this position. But Ridley is a physical player who understands how to use his size (6-1, 199 pounds) and his leverage to shake free from defenders. He's also a capable contested-catch weapon on the outside. The Patriots are sorely in need of a true "X" receiver at the moment, and Ridley would give them a presence there. Plus he's coming from a program that Belichick respects and he'd know what to expect from the job as he leaned on former teammates Sony Michel and Isaiah Wynn. His brother, Calvin Ridley, was taken in the first round last year by the Falcons.
No. 73 (from Detroit): Juan Thornhill, DB, Virginia
A versatile defensive back who played both corner and safety collegiately? Someone who's known for his ball skills, his ability to match up with various body types in coverage and profiled as an elite athlete at the combine? Thornhill -- he of the 4.42 40, the 44-inch vertical and the whopping 141-inch broad jump -- checks all of those boxes. He started for three years at UVA and seems to have the instincts as well as the movement skills that the Patriots would covet. As New England gets closer to life without Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, Thornhill would give them a well-rounded defensive back to help fill the void whenever it is that those two longtime leaders hang 'em up.
No. 97 (compensatory): Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State
This might be a little longer than the Patriots are willing to wait to dip into the tight end class. At this point, both Iowa tight ends and Alabama's Irv Smith figure to be long gone. Warring offers some serious promise, though. He's relatively new to the sport, having played everything from water polo to basketball to tennis in high school and getting just one season on the field before heading off to college. He has the size (6-5, 252) and explosiveness (4.67 40, 122-inch broad jump, 36.5-inch vertical) to warrant consideration at this stage of the draft, though. On tape he's very coordinated, adjusting to inaccurate throws and showing solid ability to track the football in the air. He also isn't afraid to mix it up as a blocker, even if he often finishes reps off-balance. The effort is there. And for someone who still seems to have room to grow as a player, that's something the Patriots would appreciate. They've shown in the past they have no problem taking on projects, whether it's Stephen Neal or Sebastian Vollmer. The question is whether or not Warring is ready to take on a real role should Rob Gronkowski retire or simply miss time during the season.
No. 101 (compensatory): Daylon Mack, DT, Texas A&M
Did we mention there's a boatload of defensive line talent in this draft class? Mack, like Lawrence, has serious size (6-1, 336) that could help him compete for a spot in the defensive tackle rotation right away. He entered the SEC as a top-end recruit and didn't put up big numbers, but he had a productive senior year with 10 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and a blocked kick. Western Illinois tackle Khalen Saunders would be an intriguing choice here as a big-bodied (6-1, 324 pounds) athlete, but Mack seems better suited to play the two-gapping style the Patriots prefer.
No. 134: Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple
The Patriots found themselves in hot water at the running back position early last season when Jeremy Hill, Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead all dealt with injuries. Instead of leaning on James White as a three-down back again, it would make sense for the Patriots to give themselves a back -- preferably a big one -- to help handle any injuries they may experience here. Enter Armstead. At 5-11, 220 pounds, he's a battering ram who can move (4.45-second 40). He's not going to give the Patriots much, if anything, as a receiver. But for an offense that is so reliant on its power rushing attack, it makes sense to have another option at this position. His size, speed and aggressiveness might also make him a special teams option for Belichick.
No. 205 (compensatory): Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
When it comes to that which can be measured, you could argue there's no quarterback that fits the Patriots better than Finley. He stands at 6-4, 213 pounds. He played in a pro style offense at a Power 5 school. He completed 64.2 percent of his passes in his career. He had a yards-per-attempt number of 7.6. He had a 2-to-1 (63-to-30) touchdown-to-interception ratio. All those things make him look like a prototypical Patriots draft pick at the position. He's a little older than most, spending six years at the college level between Boise State and NC State -- he actually lost his job to fellow rookie-to-be passer Brett Rypien -- and he's considered to be sharp. On Day 3 of the draft, as someone who may project as Tom Brady's last backup, Finley makes a lot of sense.
No. 239 (from Philadelphia): Andrew Van Ginkel, LB, Wisconsin
Now that we're into the last round, it's worth getting into a few names who could potentially make a dent in niche roles. Van Ginkel looks like an interesting candidate for kicking-game work. His size at linebacker (6-3, 241) makes him bigger than most, and we know the Patriots like bigger linebackers. But where Van Ginkel really stands out is with his jumps and his agility drills, making him look like an elite athlete at the position. He jumped 38 inches in the vertical (87th percentile at his position), 123 inches in the broad jump (85th), and he ran a 6.89-second three-cone (82nd), as well as a 4.14-second short shuttle (82nd). Those numbers might be worth a late-round swing.
No. 243 (from Cleveland): Alec Ingold, FB, Wisconsin
Back-to-back Badgers here. And why not? Ingold (6-1, 242) was the lone fullback invited to the combine this year. He understands why his position is still important, though, and he was particularly impressed with the way the Patriots deployed James Develin, he told us on The Next Pats Podcast. Belichick could always draft a tight end comfortable with blocking on the move (like LSU's Foster Moreau) to serve as a backup option to Develin. But perhaps the Patriots would view Ingold's experience at the position and in blocking for a pro-style running game as valuable enough to draft him. However they do it, it'd make sense for the Patriots to add some depth at the position. It was critical to their offense in 2018 and if anything were to happen to Develin, they'd struggle to replace him.
No. 246: Kyle Phillips, EDGE, Tennessee
While Omenihu is a bigger, longer end, Phillips brings some good size to the edge position on Day 3 of the draft in this scenario. At 6-4, 270 and with 34-inch arms, he has the look of a base end who can lock out, find the football, and attack in the run game. He had just four sacks as a senior, but he has some intriguing traits to work with and he reportedly performed well at this year's East-West Shrine Game. Even if the Patriots take Omenihu in the second, they could use some depth at this spot.
No. 252 (compensatory): Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo
Quarterback-turned-receiver. MAC product. Possesses special teams value. Seventh-round pick. Sound familiar? Thompson isn't going to be the next Julian Edelman, but he does have some intriguing qualities to work with. Because he doesn't have breakaway speed (4.57 40), he might be a slot receiver even though his frame (6-1, 205) makes him look like an "X." Furthering his case for the slot would be his agility numbers -- 6.87 three-cone, 4.03 short shuttle -- and his willingness to block. Thompson has experience as a returner and has blocked three punts in his college career, meaning there might be a spot for him on the roster even if he doesn't contribute offensively.