The New England Patriots have pressing needs on both sides of the ball entering the 2022 NFL Draft — pressing needs that can surely be solved by trading back into the second round! Kidding, kidding … half-kidding.
Bill Belichick could use some defensive beef, from a do-it-all linebacker to replacements for JC Jackson and Stephon Gilmore at CB. He might also target a No. 1 wide receiver, if he dares reenter the first-round wideout fray after another high-profile failure in 2019 with He Who Must Not Be N’Kealed.
The rumor mill’s latest nugget, though, doesn’t exactly fall in line with any of the preeminent Patriots stereotypes. Most LB speculation has been focused on Georgia’s Nakobe Dean or Utah’s Devin Lloyd, two relentless pursuers of the action whose high motors would do well in Belichick’s hungry 2022 camp.
According to draft guru Matt Miller’s “buddy” sniffing for a surprise pick, though, the Patriots might be targeting another LB from Georgia, and could be infatuated with senior Quay Walker.
Wait … isn’t he a widely-projected second-rounder? Doesn’t that suggest another famous trade back? Not necessarily. The Pats are rumored to be so in love with him they’ll snag him at 21 and call it a day, draft capital-wise.
In other words, the Patriots might “Queue up for Quay” sooner than anyone else was expecting them to.
Patriots Rumors: Georgia’s Quay Walker won’t drop past New England
Alright, so … pros: Walker is a prototypical Patriot, physically. He’s got a massive wingspan (96th percentile) and posted the fourth-fastest 40 time of any 2022 LB prospect at the combine.
Cons: Walker is reportedly still working on his coverage instincts, which is, uh, something New England certainly demands of their LBs.
Or, at least, the beloved ones. Uncovered wheel routes remain a persistent New England nightmare.
So, natural talent or polished precision? You make the call.
Or, if we’re to believe the rumors, New England already has.
Also worth your time? Walker is huge, weighing in at 240 pounds on a 6-4 frame.
Reference the picture below, where Walker makes fellow first-round possibility (and Patriots smokescreen?) Nakobe Dean look like a freshman nipping at his heels.
Often projected in the second round, seeing Walker not only rise into the first but become such a Pats priority that they won’t let him escape their clutches would be a strange turn of events.
Then again, so was Mac Jones falling right into Belichick’s lap last season. Hasn’t this team earned the benefit of the doubt by now? It’s going to be OQuay.