The New England Patriots’ 2020 season might be a complete loss, but it’s pretty clear at this point they aren’t a Super Bowl contender, which means the 2021 NFL Draft is going to be extra important.
The Patriots traded away their first-round pick in 2020, but it’s hard to imagine with all the holes that need to be filled, that is something that is going to happen again in 2021.
Bill Belichick very well could go after their future quarterback, but there are other needs the team needs filled including tight end, wide receiver, and defensive line.
Let’s take a look at three players the Patriots should already be targeting in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Kyle Trask, Quarterback, Florida
The Patriots need to target their future quarterback in this draft and depending on how many games they win will go a long way in deciding who they could target. Every win the Patriots pick up the rest of the season could actually be hurting their future.
Kyle Trask is having a big year for the Florida Gators, which has made him quickly climb up draft boards. If the Patriots can get a guy like Zach Wilson or Justin Fields, that makes even more sense, but with more wins, that is going to hurt them.
Trask is a pocket passer who has impressive ball placement and always seems to be making good decisions. Trask isn’t a very mobile quarterback, but the Patriots faired pretty well with another guy who wasn’t very mobile in Tom Brady.
Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver, Minnesota
The Patriots haven’t had a lot of success drafting wide receivers in the first round, but if they decide to not go quarterback, Rashod Bateman is a guy they need to go after.
The Patriots need to get a number one receiver who can be leaned on no matter who is under center. Bateman had a monstrous 2019 season, catching 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bateman is an elite route runner who does a great job of setting up the defensive back.
Bateman also isn’t afraid to go up in traffic and has strong hands that can snatch the ball away from a defender.
Bateman will be a true number one receiver for years to come for whichever team decides to draft him, and the Patriots should really consider it.
Mustafa Johnson, Defensive End, Colorado
The Patriots have some cap decisions to make this offseason and going cheap on the defensive line could be something they could decide to do.
Mustafa Johnson could very well climb up draft boards, but if the Patriots could get him in the second or third round, he would make a whole lot of sense.
Johnson is a bit undersized, but he is quick off the line and could be an impact player right away, something the Patriots will need up front.
In 2018, Johnson had 73 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks. Johnson gets off the ball quick and he would be a perfect fit in a Bill Belichick system.