The New England Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last season. Those two seasons each had something in common: The Patriots were without Tom Brady in both of them.
With Brady now in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers, the Patriots got their first taste of quarterback issues in nearly two decades. They now are looking to solve the problem the team has at that position and get back on track in 2021.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the Patriots were hard-hit by COVID-related opt-outs last year, so getting some of those players back, including Dont’a Hightower, will be huge for the team. They have also made countless additions to what was previously a weaker-looking roster in free agency, so that should improve their chances of returning to the playoffs.
Still though, until they can solve their quarterback conundrum, the Patriots’ ceiling will be capped.
Here’s a look at the Patriots’ picks in the 2021 NFL Draft:
MORE NFL DRAFT: Complete 7-round mock | Top 100 big board
Patriots draft picks 2021: When does New England pick?
- Round 1, Pick No. 15
- Round 2, Pick No. 46
- Round 3, Pick No. 96
- Round 4, Pick No. 120
- Round 4, Pick No. 122
- Round 4, Pick No. 139
- Round 5, Pick No. 177
- Round 6, Pick No. 188
- Round 6, Pick No. 197
- Round 7, Pick No. 242
Patriots 2021 NFL Draft order
|3||13 (Choice Forfeited)|
|3||33 (Compensatory Selection)|
|4||17 (from Cardinals through Texans)|
|4||34 (Compensatory Selection)|
|5||33 (Compensatory Selection)|
|6||4 (from Texans)|
MORE: Read the latest NFL Draft news at SN’s draft HQ
Patriots NFL Draft needs
- Quarterback: Can the Patriots really trust Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham to lead the team to the playoffs? Robert Kraft spoke well of them recently, but the team could still search for an upgrade in the 2021 NFL Draft. If they can’t land one of the five best quarterbacks, perhaps they’ll consider Kyle Trask or Kellen Mond in Round 2.
- Wide receiver: The Patriots signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne this offseason, but they still need a true No. 1 receiver for their offense. There are plenty of options for them to consider early and if they get lucky, Jaylen Waddle may still be on the board with the 15th pick.
- Defensive tackle: Losing Adam Butler to the Dolphins in free agency took away one of New England’s best interior pass rushers. They should look to add another rotational rusher to pair with run stuffers like Lawrence Guy and Davon Godchaux.
- Edge rusher: Matt Judon was a good signing for New England, but they need to add some depth behind him and Chase Winovich if they want to have a better pass rush.
- Cornerback: This is a position of strength for the Patriots, but Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson both have one year left on their deals. The team should add some depth to the position in case one, or both, decide to leave in 2022.
Patriots mock draft 2021
Here are the latest 2021 NFL Draft projections for the Patriots, according to Vinnie Iyer’s seven-round mock draft:
|1||15||Micah Parsons||LB||Penn State|
|4||17||Kylin Hill||RB||Mississippi State|
|4||34||Jaelon Darden||WR||North Texas|
|5||33||Kellen Mond||QB||Texas A&M|