Most fans and media alike believed that the wide receiver position was one of the Patriots biggest needs heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Apparently Bill Belichick and Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio agreed as New England selected Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry with the 32nd and final selection of the first round on Thursday night.
But as Caserio acknowledged in his press conference after the first round, New England’s work is far from done. As he put it, the team will “recalibrate” its draftboard and prepare for what should be an interesting second day of the draft on Friday when the Patriots have five selections in the second and third rounds – Nos. 56, 64, 73, 97 and 101 overall.
Caserio noted that there was plenty of talent still on the board and that New England could go a number of different directions, including allowing for the possibility of trading up to target certain players if the right situation presented itself.
After addressing wide receiver – although the team could very well take another swing at the position, as it has done over the years at other spots of dire draft need – now the Patriots might be in line to target other top needs such as tight end, defensive line, safety, tackle, cornerback and even quarterback.
Here’s a look at some of the top remaining prospects still available at New England’s top positions of need heading into Friday night’s NFL Draft action.
Alabama’s Irv Smith, San Diego State’s Kahale Warring: After seeing Iowa products T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant go in the first round, Smith is by far the next best tight end. He could very well be a strong consideration in the second round for New England if the need-based draft approach continues, while Warring would be a later, more developmental prospect.
Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi’s A.J. Brown, Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler, Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: After just two receivers, including Harry, were called in the first round, it certainly would seem there is likely to be a run on the position at some point on Friday night. Even with Harry in the fold, don’t rule out another pick on a young receiver.
Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson, Iowa’s Anthony Nelson, Michigan’s Chase Winovich
Washington’s Taylor Rapp, Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, Delaware’s Nasir Adderley: If a year-too-early pick is to be made, it could come at safety if New England adds youth behind aging veterans like Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty. Rapp would be an intriguing day 2 option.
Missouri’s Drew Lock, West Virginia’s Will Grier, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley: So the reports of the Patriots targeting a quarterback late in the first round were off target, but adding a developmental passer remains a possibility. Grier and Stidham may be the most likely choices at this point.
Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Oklahoma’s Cody Ford, Kansas State’s Dalton Risner, Ohio State’s Dre’Mont Jones, Mississippi State’s Greg Little: Depending on Isaiah Wynn, this could be a right-now target or a year-too-early spot. Many believe Taylor is the best prospect on the board after the conclusion of the first round, while Risner is a versatile option who may move inside.
LSU’s Greedy Williams, Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, Notre Dame’s Julian Love, Michigan State’s Justin Layne, Vanderbilt’s Joejuan Williams: A team can never have too many talented cornerbacks and there are some intriguing options still on the board. Greedy Williams’ stock clearly dropped at some point, while Joejuan Williams has unique size to add to an NFL secondary.