After selecting Georgia's Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel with their first two picks in round one, the Patriots are back at it for Day 2 of the draft. With two picks today (#43 and #63, both in the second round), New England will be right in the mix as 68 more players come off the board.
Key Team Needs
Bill Belichick went offense in round one, picking up an offensive lineman and a running back. Now, it's time to address the defense--the Pats need an off-the-ball linebacker, depth at defensive back, a "move" tight end to work with Gronk, and possibly even a sub-package rusher. Prospects at all three are still available. The one question mark? Quarterback. While Mason Rudolph, Kyle Lauletta, Luke Falk, and others are all still in contention, this is probably the last day the Pats can expect to find a possible successor to Tom Brady. The 43rd pick could be the time to pull the trigger.
As addressed earlier, New England will most likely have to devote pick #43 to a quarterback if they want Mason Rudolph. However, if they decide to settle for Lauletta and Faulk, who could be available 20 picks later, the team will have some more options. Defensively, Colorado corner Isaiah Oliver, Stanford safety Justin Reid, and Boston College DE/LB Harold Landry could be good fits in New England. If they're looking for tight ends, Penn State's Mike Gesicki and South Dakota State's Dallas Goeddert should both still be on the board as well. With the later pick, they could look towards Lauletta or Faulk, or go in a different direction entirely--D-linemen like FSU's Josh Sweat and Miami's Chad Thomas or a linebacker like Georgia's Lorenzo Carter would be good picks if available.
The Patriots already traded away their 95th selection today, moving down to 143rd overall and acquiring offensive lineman Trent Brown in the process. While trading up is far more unlikely today than it was yesterday, Trader Bill will most likely be wheeling and dealing throughout these rounds. If enough favored prospects are still the board at 63, or if a few key targets are off the board by 43, expect Belichick to possibly move down and acquire more picks in Rounds 3-5.
Picks to Watch
Day 2 will get started quickly--if the Patriots are targeting a quarterback at 43, they'll have to cross their fingers a couple key teams don't pick their guy first. The biggest threat could be the Giants at 34; after passing on a quarterback to take Saquon Barkley second overall, a future replacement for Eli Manning has to rank high on their board. Beyond that, the Broncos (or even the Dolphins) could be in the mix for a passer at picks 40 and 42, respectively. There's also trades to take into account: the Chargers are reportedly trying hard to move up for Mason Rudolph, and other teams could be working behind the scenes as well. How those dominoes fall between 33 and 43 will determine whether or not the Pats go QB there or wait. We'll have to wait and see.