The New England Patriots might be gearing up for a run at yet another Super Bowl, but Bill Belichick and the front office may have already started to turn their heads toward the NFL Draft. The Pats still have some holes on this roster that patching up.
Even though the 2022 class is being regarded as a generally poor one for quarterbacks, there are several standout players at positions of need for New England. There are dozens of quality wide receivers, cornerbacks, pass rushers, and offensive linemen like local standout Zion Johnson, who could immediately contribute.
Belichick has shown us a few things about his drafting philosophy over the years. He values experience in a tough conference like the SEC, multiple years of production, and straight-line athleticism. Some of the mock draft wizards already have a perfect plan lined up for Belichick.
Todd McShay’s Mock Draft has New England selecting Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks. While Burks may not be a household name because he spent his first two seasons on some bad Razorbacks teams, his breakout year in 2021 has him firmly in the first-round discussion.
Patriots Mock Draft: Treylon Burks could be a No. 1 receiver.
Burks is 6-3 and 225 pounds, yet should be expected to run a sub-4.40 40-yard dash when he gets tested. That type of athletic ability is rare, but he’s not just a raw mold of clay. Given his ability to win 50-50 balls, vertical speed, and efficient releases off the line of scrimmage, Burks already does plenty of things that Belichick mandates from his receivers.
Despite playing in a run-first offense, Burks recorded 66 catches for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. The No. 2 receiver for Arkansas this season had just 305 yards.
Teams like Alabama knew that Burks was going to get the ball, and they still couldn’t stop him. Belichick doesn’t need to overthink things here. A player with his speed, size, and production in the SEC could give Mac Jones a No. 1 receiver for years to come.
Burks has some issues, most notably his lateral mobility. While he has great speed, he hasn’t been much of a threat on screens or underneath passes, which could make him a bit of an odd fit in an offense that loves getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands as quickly as possible.
If the Patriots can help Burks improve as a route-runner, they could land a premium athlete without having to trade up, Good luck stopping him, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith on the same play if this comes to fruition.