Latest 7-Round Mock Draft lays foundation for Patriots' future

Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf lead a transformational draft for the New England Patriots
Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Jordan Morgan (77) has plenty of experience defending the quarterback's blind side
Arizona Wildcats offensive lineman Jordan Morgan (77) has plenty of experience defending the quarterback's blind side / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Bolstering the offense becomes the priority for the Patriots after Round 1

Rd. 2, Pick No. 34: OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona

It doesn’t matter if the Patriots have an elite receiver if the quarterback isn’t upright to get the ball to him. New England needs to protect their new franchise guy. That’s more important than getting him weapons.

In Jordan Morgan, the Patriots get a bookend to pair with the re-signed Michael Onwenu, to secure the pocket for Brissett this season, and eventually Maye for the next decade. Morgan has plenty of experience at left tackle and room to grow stronger.

Morgan is smooth as a pass blocker, and light on his feet moving laterally. He needs to improve his run blocking, and there are concerns about his arm length. Morgan can improve the former, while the latter is overrated.

New England’s quarterbacks were sacked 48 times last season. It’s almost impossible for a QB to succeed in that situation. Mayo and his staff better not repeat the error made by Belichick. The first step to quarterback success is securing the pocket. THEN they can work on surrounding him with talent.

Rd. 3, Pick No. 68: WR Brenden Rice, USC

The Patriots receiving corps weren’t as bad as everyone suggests. Some players weren’t used properly, and Kendrick Bourne spent most of the season on injured reserve.

That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement. New England needs a big, go-to receiver to develop alongside Maye. Brenden Rice can be that guy.

While Rice lacks the track speed and quickness of other prospects, he more than makes up for it by being a physical target that can shield defenders with his 6-2 210-pound frame. He has enough speed to be a deep threat and the strength to win 50/50 balls. And like his legendary father Jerry, Rice is a threat after the catch.

Adding Rice to Bourne, DeMario “Pop” Douglas, Tyquan Thornton and free agent addition K.J. Osborn makes for a promising group. That doesn’t mean the Patriots should stop at that.