The New England Patriots are getting the rare opportunity to select 15th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Who are their best options with the pick?
Coming off of a rare 7-9 season, the New England Patriots enter the 2021 NFL Draft needing an impact player. With the No. 15 pick, the Patriots should be able to make this happen. Due to the team’s free-agent spending spree, the Patriots do not have a ton of roster holes to fill. This gives them the ability to find the most talented fit for the team’s style of play.
The Patriots attempted to address deficiencies on both sides of the ball during free agency. On defense, reinforcements were brought in to beef up the front seven. This includes signing Matt Judon and retaining undervalued lineman Lawrence Guy. On offense, the additions of tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry should bring back a forgotten dimension to the offense.
The Patriots showed they meant business during the free-agent portion of the offseason, and they will do the same with the draft.
Best picks for Patriots with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft
3. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The biggest hole for the Patriots is at the quarterback position. In this scenario, the team is not trading up for a quarterback and would only pick a quarterback if someone they like fell to them. Here we have Jones who might be rated higher on the Patriots draft board than most other teams.
If San Francisco passes on Jones, then it is possible he could slide all the way down to New England at No. 15. His quick decision-making and processing ability seem to be a great match for the New England offense.
The other plus with Jones is that he may be able to push Cam Newton for the starting job as soon as during the upcoming season. The Patriots have always done a good job of highlighting a player’s strengths while limiting the player’s weaknesses. They can do this with Jones and it wouldn’t matter what pick they used for him if he turns out to be a top ten NFL quarterback.
2. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
The Patriots brought in an edge player in Matt Judon, but Bill Belichick wouldn’t shy away with drafting a player the caliber of Paye. Paye is an edge player with the size and power the Patriots look for.
Paye has the quickness the Patriots look for in edge players while still showing the size and weight capability to hold up against the run. He is still a little raw, but he could be a premier player with the right coaching within the next two or three seasons.
The Patriots have a connection with Michigan and former defensive coordinator Don Brown. The team has already drafted Michigan defensive line rushers in back-to-back drafts with Chase Winovich and Josh Uche. Might as well make it three in a row with the most well-rounded of the group.
1. Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Although Zaven Collins has been overshadowed by Micah Parsons, he has the look of a Patriots player. Drafting Collins at 15, might be a bit high for him, but that has never stopped Bill Belichick and the Patriots before. If Parsons is on the board, the team could even try to trade down to get a little additional draft capital while taking the player they want.
Collins is 6-5 and 259 pounds and has the look of a more athletic Dont’a Hightower and has the college production to prove it. Collins is also known as a character player and projects to be at least a solid NFL starter throughout his career.
Character and dependability are often traits Belichick leans on the most when he has had the opportunity to draft as high as 15 with the Patriots. Collins has both and should be a steady piece for the Patriots throughout his career. Like Hightower, he has the versatility to play inside and outside and should add a steady presence to the linebacker group.