New England Patriots: Friday’s game plan for Rounds 2-3 of NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text 'ON THE CLOCK' for the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: A video board displays the text 'ON THE CLOCK' for the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT /

After not making a selection and trading out of the first round of the NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are preparing to be very active in Rounds 2-3.

The New England Patriots traded out of the first round and received a second-round pick, which is an asset the team didn’t originally have in the draft, and an additional third-round pick after making a draft-day trade with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The first round of the draft featured zero tight ends, one running back, four quarterbacks, and seven offensive linemen taken off the board. One of the beauties of this draft is that most positions run deep, and there is still plenty of talent available to the Patriots, who now have five picks throughout the second and third rounds of the draft tonight.

The Patriots enter the second round Friday with the 37th overall selection — which is the fifth pick to start out the night. It seems the team is confident enough in second-year quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, to not draft a quarterback this high in the draft. With this logic, it would make sense for the Pats to consider drafting a tight end in the second round.

No matter who is playing quarterback, the Patriots are still going to need to upgrade their tight end position this season. Luckily, a few of the top tight ends in the draft are going to be available to the Patriots in the second round … and it’s going to be too hard to pass on them most likely.

Whether it’s Cole Kmet, Brycen Hopkins, Hunter Bryant, or Jared Pinkney, they can all be a positive upgrade to the running and passing game over what the Pats currently have.

After the second round, the New England Patriots’ next four draft picks are all relatively close to each other in the third round: 71st overall, 87th overall, 98th overall, and 100th overall.

At this point, if the Patriots are interested in drafting another quarterback, the selection should be made within their first two draft picks of the round (71st or 87th overall). With that, it appears the team could still have access to Jake Fromm or Jacob Eason.

The Patriots will need to consider trading up if they are interested in Jalen Hurts. More than likely, Hurts is going to become more intriguing to teams at this point in the draft.

Another under-the-radar possibility is quarterback Nathan Stanley out of Iowa. Stanley is 6’4”, 243 lbs, and has some experience in a few big moments during his college career.

He became a three-year starter at Iowa who finished with over 8,000 passing yards and 68 total touchdown passes. He is strong, has great pocket presence, and is a player that could be available in a later round for the Pats.

It appeared the Patriots were interested in drafting wide receiver Justin Jefferson out of LSU if he was available to them 23rd overall in the first round. Unfortunately for the Pats, the Minnesota Vikings drafted him 22nd overall, one pick ahead of the Patriots. The Patriots then traded out of the first round.

This wide receiver class is extremely deep, but since the Pats showed interest in the position during the first round, they might still want to draft a wide receiver as early as the third round.

The Patriots also need to upgrade certain areas of their defense — specifically starting with the middle linebacker position. I thought they would have addressed this need in the first round by drafting Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen 23rd overall, but I was wrong  — and I now see the importance of trading down and obtaining more assets.

The Patriots lost key players to their defense in Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Elandon Roberts through free agency this offseason.

Next. Evaluating the Patriots' O-line and run game in 2020. dark

The New England Patriots have a lot of work to do tonight in the second and third rounds. Although they have a great lineup of picks tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded back into the second round for the second time of the draft to select one of the best players on the draft board if it will be an upgrade to one of their specific needs.