Patriots draft: 3 potential late-round steals who’d be perfect for New England

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The New England Patriots will have an absolutely pivotal NFL Draft ahead of them this offseason.

Not only will Bill Belichick have to potentially find a quarterback of the future after a disappointing showing from Cam Newton, but he also has to figure out what other parts of this depleted roster need some beefing up.

The lack of wide receiver talent made it difficult for New England to do much of anything on offense.

Even on Belichick’s preferred side of the ball, some inexperience and roster deficiencies due to COVID-19 opt-outs meant that New England’s defense was unable to replicate their 2019-20 performance.

Luckily for Belichick, he will have the benefit of a very deep draft class to address these deficiencies.

Even beyond the No. 15 pick, Day 3 of the Draft could be a perfect opportunity for the Patriots to get some much-needed depth.

Any one of these late-round picks could follow in the footsteps of Michael Onwenu, a sixth-round pick last year who emerged as a quality starter as a rookie.

These three potential Patriots draft picks could end up being steals.

Tedarrell Slaton, Patriots
GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 30: Tedarrell Slaton #56 of the Florida Gators (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images) /

No. 3: Tedarrell Slaton, DT, Florida

No one can ever say Slaton isn’t getting enough to eat, as the Gators defensive tackle tips the scales at 358 pounds. Slaton presents all of the requisite problems presented with blocking someone that big, as the space-eating nose tackle was among the best in the country at freeing up Florida’s linebackers by taking on multiple linemen.

Slaton’s stats look pretty ordinary, but the Gators’ defense was one of the most consistently aggressive in college football over the last few years. They couldn’t have been flying around the defensive backfield and taking as many chances via blitzing without a freaky-strong player like Slaton solidifying the interior.

What would Slaton bring to the Patriots?

Belichick has an affinity for big tackles that can take on blockers, as he turned Vince Wilfork into a borderline Hall of Fame player thanks to his schemes. Slaton is by no means in Wilfork’s tier, but he could be compared to Danny Shelton, who won a championship with New England as their starting nose tackle.

There are some problems with Slaton as a prospect, as his lack of athleticism and nonexistent explosion off the snap because of his size make him a non-factor as a pass rusher. However, if Belichick wants a tackle to plug up running lanes, there are few better in this class.