The 2020 NFL Draft is now little more than a week away.
Certainly this will be unlike any previous draft. Coaches and GMs like Bill Belichick will be drafting virtually, working from their homes rather than their team facilities. The input they get from their staffs will come via laptops, tablets and phones rather than in-person consultations as key decisions are being made.
But, the end result will still be the same. Belichick’s Patriots, like all 32 NFL teams, will select a crop of players expected to inject talent and youthful potential into their teams’ rosters. As it stands today, before the trades that are sure to come, New England has 12 selections.
There will be hits and misses. There will be booms and busts. There will be holes filled and future holes will be created.
Still, in this coronavirus-controlled, stay-at-home world the picks will indeed be made.
As we come down the home stretch here is one mock draft of possibilities for New England’s first four rounds of selections, the picks that will be the heart of the Patriots draft class and the focal point of analysis, positive or negative, moving forward.
Round 1, Pick No. 23 overall – A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
Epenesa is a physical, versatile edge option who could have a positive impact right away on the front seven, both against the run and the pass.
Round 3, Pick No. 87 overall – Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Trautman comes from a small school and there will be a transition period, but he has a chance to be an impact tight end as a receiver and a blocker, filling arguably the Patriots’ biggest need coming from a pretty week tight end class.
Round 3, Pick No. 98 overall – K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
Hamler is an electric option as both an undersized slot receiver and returner who would add nice playmaking potential to a Patriots offense that could use it.
Round 3, Pick No. 100 – Jalen Hurts. QB, Oklahoma
The Patriots need a third quarterback. Hurts has elite intangibles and a unique playmaking style that might have a chance in the modern NFL passing game. If Belichick and Josh McDaniels thought they could make Tim Tebow work, then why not Hurts? Oh hell, let’s spice things up a bit.
Round 4, Pick No. 125 overall – Jonah Jackson, G/C, Ohio State
Jackson is a powerful, accountable interior line prospect who would give the Patriots some needed versatile depth for 2020 and beyond.