Welcome to the eleventh year of picking the top 50 draft fits for the Patriots! Last season, we had three players the Patriots drafted on the big board and the goal remains to hit as many as possible. Thus we're focusing heavily on positions of need, as quarterback, cornerback, offensive tackle, running back and wide receiver lead the way with multiple prospects each.
This is a list of fits, roughly in the order of how well they fit. Players likely to be selected before the Patriots picked are purposely left off. With New England picking at 15, there are fewer of those than in previous seasons but you never know how things are going to unfold.
It's a huge draft for the Patriots. After a promising 2020 class, New England will be looking to continue adding to their long-term core and nearly all of the players listed here could help. Let's dive in!
A small school quarterback who played just one game in 2020, Lance may be a bit developmental, but he is the full package as far as arm strength and athleticism. Projecting a jump to the NFL can be difficult, but Lance represents a total package who could be within reach, but they'll almost assuredly have to trade up to get him.
A mobile linebacker with good size, Parsons has game-changing potential in the middle of a defense and the most popular mock draft pick to them. The Patriots have some significant long-term questions at the position, especially inside, where Parsons has some parallels to Jerod Mayo.
An explosive, game-changing receiver and returner, Waddle would be the kind of weapon that could help elevate the Patriots offense, even with their multiple free agent signings. It seems like a long shot that Waddle will fall through the cracks, but his fit is obvious if he does.
A high school quarterback, Farley is still developing at cornerback but he's already one of the best in this class. Back surgery could hurt his status as Surtain and Jaycee Horn blew up their Pro Days, but Farley is an easy fit into the Patriots defense with good length, eye-popping quickness and physicality.
Horn isn't far behind Surtain and Farley atop the cornerback rankings, as he also comes from NFL lines and checks all of the physical boxes. Horn can do it all as a cornerback, playing insider or outside and would be an immediate matchup piece. His stellar Pro Day could launch him past Farley.
With no starting tackle signed beyond this season, the Patriots were wise to send a contingent to Virginia Tech to check out Darrisaw, the third-ranked tackle. Extremely athletic, Darrisaw has all the movement skills needed for the Patriots versatile offense.
Perhaps the easiest Patriots fit in the entire draft, Collins is a big, athletic linebacker who can play a number of different spots. He's very much in the mold of the Patriots current crop of linebackers and would seamlessly slip into a versatile rotation where he has three-down potential.
Jones' competitiveness, college output and accuracy all make for easy connections to the Patriots, but the question is where does Jones go in the draft? Considering the Patriots offense, Jones might be the best bet in this entire draft to be able to pick things up but his stock is shooting up draft boards and many predict he's the 49ers' target at 3rd overall.
The Patriots have tapped Michigan defenders in the last two drafts and Paye is the most highly regarded of the bunch. With unique dimensions and excellent speed and strength, the Rhode Island native's fit in New England's defense isn't obvious, but he'd be an exciting piece for the front seven who could regularly be deployed in a variety of ways. When it comes to New England's defense the scheme can be adjusted for anyone if they play like Paye does.
Odeyingbo shares a lot of traits with Chandler Jones, especially when it comes to length. Like Jones, he's still raw and is coming off a torn Achilles suffered in January, but the Patriots could use him in a variety of ways on the edge of their defense whether he's more of a 4-3 DE like Jones was or has a bit more versatility and can stand up.
A balanced safety with excellent size, Moehrig had good production and could be an ideal fit on the back end of the Patriots defense. Also a standout special teamer early in his career at Washington, Moehrig is versatile to play multiple roles within the defense and has the smarts to process things after the snap.
The first of a collection of explosive slot receivers, Toney is a borderline first-round talent which might put him in a void for the Patriots picks, but his electric quickness would be a welcome addition to the interior of the offensive formation. He's an after-catch nightmare for opposing defenses, making guys miss left and right. That's been a missing element from the Patriots offense.
Undersized but a thrilling playmaker, Moore has an injury history that could concern teams, but his playmaking ability is not in question nor is his football character. Moore could be an electric addition, serving as an inside slot receiver and potential punt returner. His 4.29 Pro Day 40-yard dash was one of the best of the spring.
Moore's 4.35 Pro Day 40 turned heads and for good reason, the SEC receiver is probably one of the more underrated prospects in this year's class, and one who could easily add some field-stretching ability from the slot of the Patriots offense. A tough competitor, Moore checks a lot of Patriots boxes.
A thick, quick and compact receiver, Rodgers would offer a number of different offensive possibilities for the Patriots. The son of Brady Sixer Tee Martin, Rodgers is a good route runner, understanding how to get open. He might not be as explosive as some of the smaller mid-round receivers, but he should be able to hold up to an NFL pounding.
A hard-charging power back, Williams also has good quickness and catching skills. He projects as an early-down back but his receiving ability is cause for additional intrigue as Williams could excel in a second-down role ala Rex Burkhead, keeping a defense on its toes. His physical play style is certainly attractive in and of itself.
The Senior Bowl MVP was a four-year starter, being the rare prospect this season to have a ton of experience. The dual-threat improved his ability to stay in the pocket during his time in college, making him an intriguing development quarterback. He'll just need to speed up his processing but he has all the physical elements, from size to athleticism.
An ascending inside linebacker prospect, Davis has good size but also makes plays on the ball, evidenced by three interceptions in 2020, one returned for a touchdown. A fluid athlete, he'd need some time to develop but has intriguing potential in the Patriots defense.
Good overall size, but a lack of length could land him inside at guard, Jenkins is a strong and smart player who understands what needs to be done. Comparable to Joe Thuney, a year as an interior back-up could lead to Jenkins securing a more prominent role down the road.
A competitive downfield receiver, Wallace is at his best on jump balls and getting deep. A physical and fearless player, he'll need to learn how to get off the line at the NFL level but has the mental makeup to be a solid pro.
Gainwell isn't built to take a lead-back pounding, but he is versatile enough that he would be a good addition to the Patriots running back room, where the ball-carrying load is spread out. With quick feet and a comfort catching the ball, Gainwell had 1,400 yards in 2019 with 13 rushing touchdowns and three touchdown catches before opting out of the 2020 season.
With just 11 starts in his Stanford career, Mills doesn't have a lot of tape to go off of, but has some experience in a pro-style offense and the kind of arm and decision making that could make him an appealing mid-round selection. If he can stay healthy, a big if, Mills could end up being a steal.
Felton played both receiving and rushing roles at UCLA and there's some question where he'll end up in the pros. Still, he offers a number of different offensive options and can also return kicks. He showed good improvement at the Senior Bowl, where his stock was raised.
Dickerson could immediately step in as an interior backup, where he has starter potential at both center and guard. His injury history should be considered, he had three season-ending injuries early in his career during an initial stint at Florida St, but he could quickly step into a starting role.
Newman has the physical traits of an NFL quarterback but will need to improve his consistency and decision making to break through at the next level. His size and experience give him some upside, but he won't be the Patriots QB answer this season. With a year to develop, he might make some noise in 2022.
Weighing in at 231 pounds, Stevenson is the kind of finisher the Patriots have sought out in the past. With limited work in college, he hasn't taken an extensive pounding and also offers special teams potential. He might not be as diverse as some of the other running back options, but he's tough to deal with.
Another quick back with some pop, Herbert could be a Day Three consolation prize if the Patriots miss out on one of the earlier backs. Herbert is balanced and has big-play ability.
The talk of the Senior Bowl, Meinerz is a small school center who stepped right in and performed well against the top competition in the country. He'll need some time to adjust to the NFL level, but has an infectious personality to go with interior versatility.
A big, powerful interior space-eater, Wilson is a mid-round option who fits well into the Patriots defense. After a busy free agency period at the position, the Patriots might be well-stocked but Wilson is the kind of player who can control the line of scrimmage wherever he lines up.
One of the bigger defensive tackles in the class, Slaton is a developmental prospect for the interior of the defense. He has a lot to learn about trench warfare in the NFL, but could be worth a flier on to develop.
Weighing in at close to 350 pounds, Shelvin is well-experienced in the SEC where he was one of the best defensive tackles in the conference. Though he's probably limited to an early-down role, Shelvin is one defensive tackle prospect who might sneak into the second day of the draft.
A passionate football player with good bloodlines, Molden is a bit of a secondary tweener, where he'll likely be more of a matchup piece than pure cornerback or safety. The Patriots have no problem using him like that. He has the intangibles and playing style that New England likes.
A lightly experienced player from Canada, St-Juste has all the physical dimensions to play outside corner and can play press man coverage. He has first-round size but his newness to the game might make him a value add on day two or three.
A heady player who has played both cornerback and safety, Johnson has two interceptions of Justin Fields to his name. The Patriots are pretty well-stocked at nickel safety between Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant, Johnson is very much in their same mold.
Another versatile defensive back, Holland offers some back end safety potential with the requisite range and ball skills. With Devin McCourty set to hit a void year in 2022, developing a free safety replacement like Holland would make some sense despite the position looking pretty well stacked in 2021.
Nasirildeen battled a knee injury over the last year, but remains a promising safety with good size and leadership traits. He might be more of a box safety while the Patriots needs point more toward a back-end presence, but he's an athletic fit who checks a lot of boxes.
Browning has the size and versatility to fit in well with the Patriots linebacker room, however he has yet to put it all together. His excellent athleticism should make him a special teams option out of the gate, with the potential to emerge as another inside/outside linebacker down the road.
Ideal length and playing personality, the 6'9" tackle is also athletic and plays with an edge. If the Patriots miss out on one of the first-round tackles, Brown could be a great developmental day two prospect who has all the tools necessary to emerge as a long-term starter.
Another one of this classes explosive slot players, Eskridge will need to develop as a route runner but is explosive and is a home run threat every time he touches the ball. Add in dynamic kickoff return ability and Eskridge could immediately contribute in a number of ways.
Yes, the Patriots currently have two fullbacks on the roster with Jakob Johnson and Danny Vitale, but Mason is an honorary pick for this year's big board as we just cannot leave a big, tough fullback off the list even if the team seems pretty well-stocked at the position.
Versatile and instinctive, Uphoff's athleticism makes him a major special teams prospect. Not something that will get Patriots fans excited but he's the kind of the player the Patriots value more than most teams.
Brown makes the Top 50 for "maniacal effort on special teams," and solidifies his place on it with his history of game-sealing plays, including last year's interception against Texas that gave Oklahoma the win.