It’s draft week AFC East fam! This Thursday, starting at 8pm, the future fates of the Dolphins, Patriots & Jets will begin to take form. For Buffalo fans, it sounds like you’ll be waiting til Friday per Beane. That being said it’s high time The Sideline Report release it’s own, AFC East Mock Draft. Using the draft simulator over at PFF, I compiled a full 7 round draft that even includes a few trades. Are you excited to convert your first round pick into 6 future 4th rounders Pats fans!? Joking aside, picks were based on your input here, as well as outside sites assessments of team needs and player values. Today we’ll look at the New England Patriots & Buffalo Bills selections with a team draft grades & assessments of why specific players were chosen through the first 3 rounds. Enjoy and wear your masks you filthy animals!
Complete draft can be found on google sheets, here.
New England Patriots: 12 picks, 13 players selected. Grade: A+
Needs: TE, LB, Pass Rush, WR, QB
New England begins its division title defense as underdogs for the first time in well over a decade. The departure of Tom Brady is the biggest reason for that, but New England also lost several pieces on their #1 defense. QB aside, the Patriots aren’t a complete mess offensively. They bring back a functional offensive line, diverse running back room, and wide receiver group that has talent, despite the poor production last year. However, relying on the soon to be 40 year old Ben Watson to carry the load at tight end would be a gigantic mistake and this mock sees Belichick address that with Asiasi & Moss. Similarly, a team with a QB room of Hoyer and Stidham has no future at QB, so here Belichick adds the big armed Eason. Belichick also finds his next bust at wide receiver in Claypool while finding some developmental Offensive Line types in the later rounds. Defensively, the Patriots find their pass rusher in Chaisson, some depth pieces along the defensive line, and a late round linebacker in Quarterman to help ease the loss of Collins. Despite losing Collins, Shelton, and Annoy (intentional), the defensive unit gets reloaded and is primed to carry the team in 2020. A strong defense with a run first approach like early dynasty Patriots will keep them in contention for an AFC East crown.
Projected Starters: Chaison (33, Edge), Claypool (65, WR), Asiasi (98, TE)
Future Starters: Tega Wanogho (100, OT), Fotu (125, DT)
Depth: Moss (172, TE), Victor (195, WR), Quarterman (LB, 204), Roach (212, DT)
ST/Practice Squad/Cut: Kindley (213, G), Perine (230, RB), Cole II (241, S)
1st Round, 23: TRADE! (23 to Bengals, gain 33, 65, 2021 4th)
-The Patriots were never actually going to pick here right? Look for BB to move back a few slots and pick up future compensation with a team desperate to select Jordan Love or some other hot prospect.
Alternatives: Stay and pick Higgins/Shenault (WR), Chaisson/Baun/Matos (Pass rush)
2nd Round, 33: K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge LSU
-Lack of production and injury history contribute to the gifted athlete Chaisson’s drop. Belichick has never seen a talented player with injury concerns that he didn’t like and this one happens to fill a major need. WR and LB will be strong considerations here, and Queen might’ve been the pick if he were still available.
Alternatives: Murray (LB), Baun/Okwara (Edge), Aiyuk/Pittman (WR)
Round 3, 65: Chase Claypool, WR Notre Dame
-With the 3rd rounder secured in the trade back, the Patriots pounce on Claypool passing on other prospects at TE, QB, and LB. Claypool could start at one of the outside receivers spots currently occupied by Sanu and 2019 1st rounder Harry.
Alternatives: Hurts/Fromm (QB), Kmet (TE), Brooks/Dye (LB)
Round 3, 87: Jacob Eason, QB Washington
-By grabbing Claypool the Patriots limited their choice on QB of the future, but Eason is a fine prospect with an adequate NFL arm that can develop behind Hoyer. If BB is thinking free agency for his 2020 QB and beyond, then pencil the Patriots in for the best value, or whatever TE they like most.
Round 3, 98: Devin Asiasi TE, UCLA
-With their third 3rd round pick New England chooses their favorite remaining TE prospect. Asiasi will be given every opportunity to start on a Patriots team that seems bereft of talent at tight end.
Round 3, 100: Prince Tega Wanogho, OT Auburn
-With 13 selections in the draft and a number of needs already filled, Belichick fully enters best player available mode. Despite needing another LB to round out the group, Tega Wanogho is the pick here and will battle to be Marcus Cannon’s eventual replacement.
4/125: Leki Fotu, DT Utah
5/173: Thaddeus Moss, TE LSU
6/195: Binjamin Victor, WR Ohio State
6/204: Shaq Quarterman, LB Miami
6/212: Malcolm Roach, DT Texas
6/213: Solomon Kindley, G Georgia
7/230: Lamical Perine, RB Florida
7/241: Brian Cole II, S Mississippi State