NFL Draft analyst predicts Patriots will make trade with Chiefs on Day 1

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Daxton Hill #30 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 20: Daxton Hill #30 of the Michigan Wolverines (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

Considering the players that the New England Patriots have lost in the last 12 months, it looks like Bill Belichick is going to use his first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on a defensive back. Even though New England had a stout defense last year, failing to keep it together could result in a forced change in draft strategy.

Even though Devin McCourty is back in New England, Stephon Gilmore isn’t coming back and JC Jackson is now a member of the Chargers. Mac Jones will need some extra offensive support, but it appears as though the most logical move at this point is to replenish the cupboards on defense.

New England has developed a habit under Belichick of trading down to acquire more draft picks. The mock draft prognosticators seem to think that Belichick will again try to drop down again to add an elite athlete at the defensive back position. analyst Chad Reuter predicts the Patriots will acquire the No. 29 overall pick from the Chiefs in addition to some Day 2 picks. After moving down, Reuter believes the Patriots will draft Michigan safety Daxton Hill. Could he be the successor to McCourty, with whom he has earned some comparisons?

Will the New England Patriots draft Daxton Hill?

Hill is an elite athlete at the position. Even though his size might cause some concerns, Hill’s agility times and sub-4.4 40-yard dash time has made him the clear-cut No. 2 safety behind Kyle Hamilton. With Jackson now a Charger, Hill should be able to fill in at multiple defensive positions.

A former 5-star recruit with some impressive range in zone coverage, Hill was deployed all over the defensive backfield last season for the Wolverines. Even if Belichick wants to pigeonhole him as a slot corner or traditional safety, Hill’s physical tools make him a natural for that role.

Hill’s coverage instincts could use some work. Not only is he a bit of a gambler, but he can be just a bit sluggish with his ability to react in coverage. With four interceptions in three seasons, there are defensive backs with better ball skills in this range than Hill.

It might take some time before Hill can reach his full potential with the Patriots, but there isn’t a safety in this draft with his combination of versatility and stunning speed. If New England feels confident in their ability to select him while trading down, that’s a move Belichick has to make.