Patriots Mock Draft: 7-round mock with all SEC players
By Mike Luciano
No New England Patriots mock draft would be complete without a plentiful amount of SEC players.
Not only does the conference’s status as the premier landing spot for pro talent in college football often influence New England’s draft strategy, but Bill Belichick’s close relationship with Nick Saban has likely influenced some of his decisions in April.
The Patriots will be more spoiled for choice than they are in most offseasons, as they ended up with the No. 15 pick in the draft after a disappointing 7-9 season. With some glaring needs under center, at wide receiver, and in the front seven, the Patriots could go in one of many different directions.
New England has been frequently linked to Alabama QB Mac Jones after he led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season. However, if the Patriots aren’t sold on Jones’ comparatively poor athletic ability, they could opt to pick a speedy playmaker in the first round.
If Belichick wants to once again reach into the well of SEC talent to replenish his team, the Patriots could lean on the conference to bolster the roster and add depth.
These seven SEC players could get drafted by the New England Patriots.
The lack of wide receiver talent has been discussed to the point of exhaustion, as part of the reason Cam Newton was so ineffective throwing the ball was the fact he was throwing to a bunch of tomato cans who couldn’t separate down the field. If Belichick doesn’t love a quarterback like Jones, he should move heaven and earth to secure the services of Waddle.
Waddle, who was one of Alabama’s most valuable skill position players due to his speed, has proven to be a quarterback’s best friend, as QBs have a perfect NFL passer rating over the last two years on throws targeting Waddle. That big-play potential could help New England turn their passing game completely around.
Waddle did suffer through some injuries this season, but he was able to return in time to at least make a cameo in the championship. In a season where players who didn’t play a snap will go pro, Waddle’s lack of production shouldn’t disqualify him. Waddle would be the best vertical receiver New England has had in years.