While Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots might be gearing up for yet another postseason run, the Patriots mock draft prognosticators have already started to envision what this team will do in April in order to make sure that they can sustain their success in 2022.
The Patriots not only hit a home run by selecting Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but they beefed up the defensive line and offensive backfield by taking Christian Barmore on Day 2 and Rhamondre Stevenson on Day 3. What areas will New England target this year?
Wide receiver could be a particular area of interest for the Patriots given the depth in this standout 2022 class and New England’s own lack of star power here. Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers are reliable targets, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a potential star into the mix.
The latest mock draft from CBS Sports has the Patriots adding Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave with the No. 23 pick. Given Olave’s dominance in college as an integral member of one of the country’s most explosive offenses, he should translate well to the NFL.
New England Patriots mock draft: Chris Olave offers separation, speed.
Despite not playing in the Rose Bowl, Olave has 65 catches for 936 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns. A four-year contributor, Olave has made his mark as a vertical field stretcher with the ability to high point the ball and reel off explosive plays in contested and non-constant catch situations.
Olave should give this offense a vertical component that it hasn’t had in recent seasons, as he has the speed to get behind a defense and make plays. Want him to go over the middle and run shorter routes? That’s fine too, as he can separate and show off his sure hands. He’ll be a much safer prospect than N’Keal Harry.
Olave’s concerns aren’t egregious, but they are present. At 189 pounds on a good day, he could struggle to separate early on against physical defensive backs. Pay no mind to the fact that Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba have more catches and yards, as they are first-round prospects in their own right.
Belichick doesn’t have the best history when it comes to drafting wide receivers, but Olave is as safe a bet as there is for someone that may be available in that range. A pass-catching core of Olave, Bourne, Meyers, and Hunter Henry would be a nightmare for opposing defenses.