There have been countless projections and mock drafts attempting to predict what the New England Patriots could do in the 2022 NFL Draft. But what should they do?
The Patriots enter the draft with a handful of positions that need addressing. Topping the list are cornerback, offensive line, linebacker, and wide receiver. Those are the positions New England is expected to focus on in the first few rounds, though Bill Belichick has the tendency to zig when everyone thinks he'll zag.
Taking a break from trying to read Belichick's mind, Phil Perry and Tom Curran discussed how they would approach the 2022 NFL Draft if they were in the Patriots head coach's position.
"The first thing I really would try to do if the draft falls the way we're anticipating that it will, and I had pick No. 21, I really would be working hard to trade back," Perry said on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast. "Because of just how this draft is constructed. Odds are you're going to be at the top of that second tier of player, and if you can trade back and go all the way back into the 40s, you could still get a good player and add more picks where you still may be able to land potential starters.
New England Patriots
"If they can't do that, in Round 1 what I would be doing would be looking to fill my roster with a premium position with that No. 21 pick. So that would mean probably not a linebacker, probably not a safety, certainly wouldn't mean a running back. But you're talking maybe a corner if Trent McDuffie falls, maybe a pass-rusher, maybe a tackle. That's what I would be looking for in Round 1 just because of the value of those positions."
In the second round, the Patriots currently own the 54th overall pick. After trading down in Round 1, Perry is taking the opposite approach here.
"This would be a spot where I would maybe be looking to trade up, believe it or not," Perry said. "It's a long drop and it feels like that second tier will be gone if you wait until pick 54. So now, you're talking about maybe missing out on the first tier at 21 overall, you might miss out on the second tier. If you just wait and you sit and pick at 21 and 54, you might miss out on tier one in the first round and you might miss out on tier two in the second round. I would be willing to make the kind of move that they made last year to get Christian Barmore depending on who falls to them.
"If you don't get the corner you like in the first round, I think it's a position you should be trying to address relatively early, and there are going to be some guys that I think slip into the second round whether it's Andrew Booth from Clemson, maybe Kaiir Elam from Florida, Kyler Gordon from Washington. Gordon, to me, -- McDuffie's teammate -- would be worthy of a trade up because he is incredibly explosive."
Perry believes the third round (pick No. 85 pick) is when the Patriots should focus on bolstering the linebacker position.
"Say I got a tackle in Round 1, because you just don't find those guys outside the first round and I think you're gonna need one probably this year. Maybe Round 2 you get your corner, so now you have two premium positions filled," Perry said. "Round 3 is when I would be looking at the Chad Mumas of the world and I would be looking at the linebacker position. I think you could get some speed there in Round 3 whether it's Muma, Christian Harris ..."
Also discussed in this episode: Looking ahead to the NFL Draft, could the Patriots trade up? Will there ever be a change in the way players are drafted to NFL teams? And how chaotic could the first round of the NFL Draft be this year?