What the Patriots could do with a first-rounder, if they get it
Rumors have been all over the place regarding the Patriots trading CB Malcolm Butler to the Saints. While the latest news on Monday was that talks had cooled between the two teams, there is still time before the draft for those tides to rise once again; here is a look at some of the prospects the Patriots should target if they do indeed land the 32nd pick in the draft for their veteran corner.
- A top need for New England is an edge rusher and Charles Harris out of Missouri could be a solid fit. Harris ranked 17th in pass-rush productivity (PRP measures pressure created on a per-snap basis with weighting toward sacks) among 118 qualified draft-eligible edge defenders and finished 15th with a very good overall grade of 86.6 in 2016.
- The Patriots may also go in the direction of an inside linebacker to pair with Dont’a Hightower at pick 32. The Bill Belichick-Florida connection is well documented and Jarrad Davis could be the next in line to go from a Gator to a Patriot. Davis ranked seventh in PRP among 134 draft-eligible ILBs, which could put him in line to replace Jamie Collins’ pass rushing presence from an inside linebacker.
- It may be a smart idea for New England to draft a tight end as insurance with Rob Gronkowski’s injury history. David Njoku out of Miami was fifth among 78 qualified draft-eligible tight ends with an 80.5 overall grade in 2016 and he was second among the group (trailing only Evan Engram) with an average of 2.34 yards per route run.