The New England Patriots will head into the 2022 NFL Draft with some reason for optimism. The franchise struck gold with its 2021 draft class, landing long-term starters including quarterback Mac Jones. However, there is a lot of work left for this front office.
Looking back at the Patriots’ offseason additions, the additions don’t fix everything. DeVante Parker helps at wide receiver, but an injury-prone wideout isn’t enough to help Jones. On the defensive side, this unit is poised to take a massive step back unless significant talent and speed is added.
Before jumping into our Patriots mock draft, here are the team’s 2022 draft picks.
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New England Patriots draft picks 2022
- 1st round: 21st overall
- 2nd round: 54th overall
- 3rd round: 85th overall
- 4th round: 127th overall
- 5th round: 158th overall
- 6th round: 183rd, 200th and 210th overall
- 7th round: 245th overall
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New England Patriots mock draft: Reshaping the defense
As we mentioned above, the offseason moves don’t inspire a lot of confidence for us right now. The New England Patriots draft needs are headlined by defense, with cornerback, linebacker and the defensive line all positions that should be addressed.
Bill Belichick also needs to find more receiving help for his young quarterback. It’s unlikely to happen in Round 1, but the Patriots need to draft some weapons to justify praise coming out of the 2022 NFL Draft. Otherwise, this team could be poised for a step backward next season.
Let’s dive into our Patriots mock draft.
1st round, 21st overall: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Nakobe Dean has to be one of Bill Belichick’s favorite players in the NFL Draft. While the former Georgia linebacker doesn’t have the prototypical size (5-foot-11), he checks off so many other boxes. Plus, he fills a need on the New England Patriots defense.
Dean might be one of the smartest players in the draft class and his obsession with football fits Belichick so well. Georgia used its undersized linebacker as a coach on the field, asking him to get his teammates lined up in the right positions and coordinating everything that happened live.
That’s only part of his skill set. He offers sideline-to-sideline range, something New England lacked in 2021 and it proved costly. The speed, instincts and ability to flip his hops and move are off the charts. He also studies film like a 10-year veteran, a work ethic that will translate to a long and successful career.
2nd round, 54th overall: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
Roger McCreary was one of the best cornerbacks in college football last year, routinely performing when matched up with top wide receivers in the SEC. He offers excellent speed, allowing him to turn and run with some of the more athletic receivers. One thing the Patriots’ coaching staff will love, McCreary is a physical player who uses his strength to jam wideouts at the line. Not only can he re-route the receiver, but his instincts and anticipation also allow him to time his contact to avoid DPIs.
McCreary’s arm length (28 7/8 inches) and height (5-foot-11) aren’t what NFL teams covet at the position. It’s why he falls into the second round. Despite the physical limitations, he showed impressive strength for his size in college and didn’t shy away from press coverage.
The Patriots could deploy McCreary in the slot or give him a shot on the outside. He’s also not afraid to come down and tackle players near the line of scrimmage and whiffs aren’t a real issue. He’d provide necessary help for the Patriots as a boundary corner in 2022.
3rd round, 85th overall: Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
As more people watched Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder, wide receiver Alec Pierce gained more attention. He’s quickly moved up draft boards, generating plenty of interest as a Day 2 receiving target who can have an important role at the next level.
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Pierce is very physical and consistently used his size and play strength to make tough catches in college. The ability to handle stronger cornerbacks is especially key at the next level where Pierce will be challenged by bigger, faster defensive backs.
A 6-foot-3 receiver with a 4.41 40-yard dash and a 40.5-inch vertical jump brings traits that coaches want to build into a starter. He can be groomed into a possession receiver at the next level, serving as a security option for Jones to get third downs.
Filling out the New England Patriots draft class
- 4th round, 127th overall: Velus Jones, WR, Tennessee
- 5th round, 158th overall: Zachary Thomas, OL, San Diego State
- 6th round, 183rd overall: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State
- 6th round, 200th overall: Brian Robinson Jr, RB, Alabama
- 6th round, 210th overall: Jason Poe, iOL, Mercer
- 7th roud, 245th overall: LaBryan Ray, DT, Alabama
Let us know what you think of our New England Patriots mock draft.