New England Patriots land quarterback of the future in Todd McShay mock draft
In the final mock draft from ESPN’s Todd McShay, the New England Patriots fill two major holes with their two first-round picks.
The New England Patriots are going to have a busy Thursday night. New England has two picks in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. After a tough free agency period, the Patriots have a few needs that they could address early in the draft.
Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola were the biggest defectors this offseason, while Brandin Cooks was traded away as well. Some of those players can be replaced in-house.
Julian Edelman, Kenny Britt and Chris Hogan will be relied upon at wide receiver. Jeremy Hill was signed in free agency, while Rex Burkhead was re-signed. Jason McCourty was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns to help replace Butler. Solder, however, will be tougher to replace.
Finding competent left tackles isn’t something that is easy to do. The Patriots were hoping to retain Solder, but the New York Giants broke the bank for him, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Some holdovers from last season, such as Antonio Garcia and LaAdrian Waddle could be used at left tackle. Matt Tobin was also signed in free agency.
More from Musket Fire
- What trading Mac Jones during the draft can do for the Patriots
- Best and worst draft picks during the Bill Belichick era
- Early round Patriots draft picks you’ll hate now, love later
- Musket Fire Roundup: Our own final predictions for round 1
- Breaking down the Patriots’ options in the 2023 NFL Draft
One need that may not be an immediate one for New England is at quarterback. Tom Brady is the starter, but he will be 41-years old when the season begins. A long-term option is needed after the team traded Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo last year.
The needs at quarterback and left tackle are both filled in the first round in Todd McShay’s final mock draft leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. With the No. 23 pick in the first round, McShay has the Patriots landing Louisville quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
Here is what he had to say about that selection.
"This would be something. Jackson needs to go to a team where he can develop behind a veteran QB (Tom Brady, check) and innovative offensive mind (Josh McDaniels, check). While he’s being groomed to be Brady’s successor, I’m sure the Patriots will find some clever ways to get him the ball in space."
This is a rather educated guess by McShay. There is a chance that Jackson goes earlier, as there are a ton of teams that are looking for quarterbacks this year. However, if Jackson is available at No. 23, the Patriots could seriously consider pulling the trigger.
The Patriots held multiple meetings with Jackson, meeting him in South Florida and hosting him for a top-30 visit. New England was also ranked as a top landing spot for Jackson, while the Patriots were rumored to be the team that was most interested in Jackson.
Given their need at quarterback, and Jackson’s skill set, he would be hard to pass on at No. 23. At No. 31, the Patriots land a player that can block for Jackson for years to come.
Want to watch the NFL Draft and 80+ channels? Try out a seven-day free trial of FuboTV.
With the 31st overall pick, McShay has the Patriots landing UCLA offensive tackle, Kolton Miller. Here is what McShay had to say about the Miller selection.
"This is one of Mel’s guys, but there is no denying his traits. You don’t find a lot of tackles who are 6-9, 309 with 34-inch arms. The Patriots would hope he solves their left tackle issue (with Nate Solder gone to the Giants) down the road."
You will notice that the comparison most often made for Miller is Solder, the Patriots left tackle for the previous seven seasons and member of the team for eight seasons overall.
This is a thin class for the offensive linemen, so the Patriots may not be able to afford to wait. If the board is falling in a certain way, New England may have to pull the trigger early to help shore up the unit tasked with protecting Tom Brady.
Next: Full 2018 First Round NFL Mock Draft
If the draft falls this way, the Patriots and their fans should be very happy. They land a solid prospect at quarterback that could be the successor to Brady, and an offensive lineman that can help keep Brady upright and elongate his career.