New England Patriots mock draft: Rounds 2 through 4
The Patriots' defense kept the team in more games than they should have had to. We can thank Bill Belichick for that, as he always seems to get his defenses to play better than expected, but New England was still 18th in pressure percentage this year and 27th in sacks. Getting Matt Judon back next year will help with the pass rush, but drafting Ohio State's Tuimoloau can help supply quarterback pressure - he needs to develop a few more pass rush moves, though - and with his strength and balance will be stout against the run.
Washington's McMillan is more of a true slot receiver, but he could be one of the best in the NFL. He doesn't have Tyreke Hill's speed, but he is quick off the line and shifty in his routes. He has excellent hands, too. McMillan knows how to find the open spots in the middle of the defense. Taking him would give Caleb Williams a versatile receiver whom Williams can look to on third downs.
James has good length at 6'1", but he needs to gain some strength. That should not be an issue in an NFL weightlifting program, however. Athletically, he is ready for the NFL in Week 1 of 2024. He might start more in the slot as he has good quickness and reads receivers' routes well. But Auburn's James should develop into a shutdown outside corner.
If the Patriots cannot draft Drake Maye, they can at least steal one of Maye's Tar Heel teammates. Walker is 6'2" and weighs 210 pounds with an excellent burst. He might not be around in the fourth round, especially if he has as good of an NFL combine as he probably will, because his speed is fantastic for his size. Walker does need to work on his physicality as he doesn't seem to do well with contact and can get knocked off his route too easily.