Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com recently released his second mock draft. Who did he have the New England Patriots selecting?
With the NFL Combine right around the corner, the New England Patriots will be preparing to have a strong draft in order to help them once again reach the Super Bowl.
Last season, the Patriots traded their first-round pick to the New Orleans Saints in part of the package that brought back wide receiver Brandin Cooks. As of now, the Patriots have the 31st pick in the NFL Draft. This is once again a prime spot to trade down from, as the Patriots frequently like to stockpile second-round picks.
Coming into the offseason, the Patriots do have a few needs that they could look to fill during the NFL Draft. As of now, defense will likely be a priority, as they will need to replace Malcolm Butler and also add a pass-rusher.
Recently, Mel Kiper Jr. released his second mock draft. It is still very early in the process with the NFL Combine and Pro Days still to come. However, he had the Patriots addressing their need at the cornerback position with the addition of Donte Jackson from LSU. Here’s what Kiper had to say about the pick.
"He has elite speed and physical talent, and he could help out as a returner. Jackson is only 5-11, 180, but he has a similar build to that of 2017 first-round pick Adoree’ Jackson."
Jackson was a member of the LSU Tigers for the past three seasons, and certainly made his mark on of the best defenses in the country during that span. In three seasons, he was able to total four interceptions and 19 passes defended.
The past two seasons, Jackson played very well for LSU, as he proved to be a very strong cover corner. With eight passes defended in 2016 and nine in 2017, Jackson is certainly ready for the NFL, and that is why he is expected to leave after his junior season.
At 5’11”, 175 pounds, Jackson is rather thin for the position. However, he was a good tackler at LSU with 82 tackles in three seasons. The Patriots generally like to have their cornerbacks a bit bigger in size, but Jackson could be a solid addition for them late in the first round if they choose to keep the pick.
With the almost certainty of Malcolm Butler playing elsewhere next season, the Patriots are going to need a solid replacement. Jackson has the potential to play meaningful snaps right away in the NFL and will be an interesting name to monitor for the Patriots.