The 2019 season didn’t turn out how we all thought it would. After a promising start to the year, the Patriots weaknesses became apparent and the lack of offensive production overshadowed a tremendous unit on defense. With the uncertainty of Tom Brady at quarterback and retirement nearing, this is a crucial draft for New England. Let’s take a look at some targets that could be hanging around at pick 23.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Justin Jefferson, LSU: It’s no secret that TB12 was limited at the receiver position this season. At 6’3, Jefferson would give Brady a big target on the outside. He is a skilled route runner and was one of the most elite receivers in all of College Football this year: 1,540 yards and 18 TDs. This would greatly help an offensive unit that struggled.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama: One of the most explosive players in the draft. Ruggs can score on any play, from anywhere on the field and gives the Pats a downfield passing option that is much needed. He’s a bit undersized at 6’0/190 LBs, but his overall speed and play making ability makes him an intriguing option here.
Tee Higgins, Clemson: At 6’4, Higgins is a target in the red zone and will cause several mismatches for opposing defenses. He also has the ability to extend plays for extra yardage with his elusiveness and shear power. Another guy you can plug in and has the tools to make an immediate impact.
Cole Kmet, Notre Dame: We had been spoiled at the Tight End position for a long time as Pats fan. Without Gronk, there was a massive hole this season that has to be addressed. Kmet is a good receiver and can block well. He fits into the offense and should be able to make contributions right away as long as he can stay healthy which has been a concern.
Jake Fromm, Georgia:Fromm had a bit of a disappointing season but he’s shown NFL-esque talent. His ability to manage a game and not turn the ball over makes him an enticing option for teams that are looking for a Quarterback. Not the flashiest prospect but a good leader who has played in big games before, two traits you like a Quarterback to have.
Jordan Love, Utah State: In my eyes, maybe the most interesting player in the NFL draft. In 2018, Jordan Love threw for 32 TDs and just six picks and this year his INT total inflated to 17 and he regressed to 20 touchdowns. Utah State lost a lot of guys at receiver but his overall decision-making is surely concerning. Love would need at least a year to sit in my opinion but he can make some tough throws and has great arm strength. It’s hard to gauge exactly where Love will go in the draft.
Austin Jackson, USC:Jackson is listed at 6’6/310 and would help an offensive line that looked weak at times this season and with the potential loss of Joe Thuney to free agency, New England needs to bolster their front five. Whether they start that process in the first round or later in the draft is the question.
Photo: Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
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