With the draft just a little over a week away it's a good time to tally up all the mock drafts of the spring to figure out who the hands-on favorite is for the Patriots to select with their first-round pick. Last month we ran through the pre-Free Agency mocks and saw the consensus pick as Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
Parsons remains a popular choice for the Pats and is easily their most popular mock draft selection across the board this spring, but after New England was busy in free agency many of the projections began to drift toward the cornerback and quarterback positions. In the final weeks before the draft, some analysts are seeing the Patriots making big moves up the draft board to land Justin Fields, with Mel Kiper Jr. having them jump to 10th overall and Peter Schrager having them move all the way up at four to get the Ohio State signal-caller. In Kiper's latest mock, he has the Patriots going up to seventh for Mac Jones.
The long-term need at quarterback hangs over every other. Even if Cam Newton bounces back with a solid year, he'll be 32 in May and is only on a one-year deal. With Jarrett Stidham entering his third year, the depth chart could use a solid rookie addition at least, but with a top-heavy draft class the mock drafts featuring the Patriots trading way up show what it would take to have a shot at almost any of them.
Fields and Mac Jones are the two who pop up the most, surprising considering Trey Lance might actually be the best Patriots fit of the post-Lawrence group. The optimistic mocks often have Jones and Lance falling into the Patriots lap at 15.
Belichick went into some detail about all the things under consideration when watching the draft unfold from the middle of the first round. It would probably be least surprising to see the team stay pat in their slot and wait to see which players get pushed outside the top 10.
That's why cornerback Jaycee Horn is another popular selection for the mock drafts. Early in the draft season, Caleb Farley sat atop most of the cornerback rankings. But after impressive Pro Days from Horn and Patrick Surtain II, those two have seemingly leapfrogged Farley. All three are excellent fits for the Patriots and at least one of them should almost certainly be available at 15.
Offensive tackle is another position group that could see some top prospects fall. Penei Sewell is the best of the bunch and is a top 10 lock, but Rashawn Slater and Christian Darrisaw could both provide some needed long-term stability for the Pats.
Perhaps an underrated pick the Patriots could consider, even at 15, is linebacker Zaven Collins, who is often projected to go in the 20s, but is just such an intriguing Patriots defensive fit you can't rule him out. A trade down would open up even more options and could make a lot of sense given the gap between the Patriots' 15th and 46th overall selections.
While it's impossible to know how the draft will unfold, the Patriots are sitting in a more intriguing spot than they have been in over a decade and the pressure is on to translate it into on-field production no matter which player at which position they select.