The Patriots had the worst defense in the NFL through six weeks. They've improved, but things still need to change. It all starts up front, where they can't generate any sort of pass rush. An interior presence would go a long way in helping them.
Pick change; previously Trenton Thompson, DT
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Duke Ejiofor, DE/3-4DE, Wake Forest
The Patriots will be getting Derek Rivers back from injury next year, but they may decide that he's not enough to bolster their pass rush. Getting a third potent edge rusher to go along with Rivers and Trey Flowers would make sense.
Rd. 2, Pk. 31
Matthew Thomas, ILB, Florida State
The Patriots desperately need to address their linebacking corps, which has been an utter mess outside of Dont'a Hightower.
Rd. 3, Pk. 31
Kevin Toliver II, CB, LSU
There were rumors that Malcolm Butler would be traded last offseason. If he's dealt this spring, the Patriots will need another cornerback.
The Patriots traded for Kony Ealy, but they could use a third edge rusher to go with Ealy and Trey Flowers. New England has also shown interest in Rivers, who could play a Jamie Collins-type role in the team's defense.
Rivers (6-4, 248) ran fast times at the combine and showed some athleticism. As a senior, he totaled 58 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass batted. Rivers showed his pass-rush skills with eight sacks as a junior and 13 as a sophomore.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Alex Anzalone, OLB/ILB, Florida
The Patriots could use more linebacker depth.
Anzalone was very impressive at times during the 2016 season, racking up 40 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and two passes broken up. He barely played in 2015 because of a shoulder injury that led to a medical redshirt. Anzalone was a backup and had injury issues during his first two years as well.
While sources say that Anzalone is not real twitchy, sudden or explosive, he takes on blocks and uses his hands well. Anzalone is fast in a straight line, but not that quick. He lacks quick twitch change of direction. Anzalone is decent in pass coverage, but lacks good awareness in zone. He is viewed as a third- or fourth-rounder who could develop into a starting inside linebacker; however, there are major durability concerns from repeated injuries in college, so teams could flunk him medically.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Jordan Morgan, G, Kutztown
The Patriots could use some interior offensive line depth and competition. New England has shown interest in Morgan as well.
Sources say that the small-school prospect is a potential third-day offensive lineman who could have risen with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. He didn't really handle the better competition well and will need development as a backup before starting.
Morgan has good size and is strong at the point of attack. Some team contacts have said they think he could be a lesser version of Ali Marpet, who was a Division III player and ended up being a second-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sources said that Morgan was being graded in the fourth or fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft before the Senior Bowl.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Brad Seaton, OT, Villanova
The Patriots grab some tackle depth and have shown interest in Seaton.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State
The Patriots take some receiver depth and hosted Ross on a pre-draft visit.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Fish Smithson, S, Kansas
The Patriots grab a sleeper safety who could be a steal.
The Patriots have cut Kony Ealy, and will have Derek Rivers returning from a torn ACL. Here's a third end to go with Rivers and Trey Flowers. <br> <br>
In the 2017 season opener, Hubbard had three tackles and a sack. Last year, he collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. While rotating into the game as a sophomore, he showed his potential with 6.5 sacks. Hubbard also had 28 tackles with an interception. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-5, 266-pounder could explode as a senior due to his early round skill set. Hubbard has a serious combination of size, speed, and athletic ability. Some team sources feel that Hubbard has been an underachiever who hasn't produced up to his skill set.
At the moment the Patriots still have their first round pick, but they will most likely trade the selection anyways. Makes sense since for all of the praise Bill Belichick gets as a great coach, he really is not a great drafter outside of getting lucky on Brady and taking a chance on oft-injured Gronk. They are much better however, taking already established players or cast offs and turning them into better pros. However, if they do stay here landing a talented edge rusher like Landry is a great pick up since right now Kyle Van Noy and Shea McClellin are penciled in as starters.
Last Weeks Selection: Harold Landry OLB Boston College at Pick # 30
The Patriots could use some young linebacker talent next to Dont'a Hightower. <br> <br>
In 2016, Jefferson recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. The numbers don't illustrate how good of a linebacker he was. <br> <br>
Jefferson (6-3, 238) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackle with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate. <br> <br>
Jefferson possesses a nice combination of size and speed. He has a ton of upside, and it wouldn't be surprising if he is in store for some massive seasons with Texas. <br> <br>
<u> <i> Pick change; previously Jordan Thomas, CB </i> </u>
The Patriots were rumored to be looking to trade for a pass rusher, it looks like that fell through so it will definitley be a priority in the draft. Armstrong should pair nicely with Trey Flowers off the edge.
Clemson's other DE meets the bill of being the pure Patriots "BPA" selection at this point in the draft. And considering that New England's pass rush has been fair-to-midland so far in the 2017 season, I think it's a solid fit. Bryant could assist in setting the edge and maintaining the long-term stranglehold that the Pats have held on the AFC East.