Jackson 5: Forecasting the Pats’ draft

By Aaron Jackson,

The NFL Draft is here! After weeks of hearing the talking heads tell you who will be picked, there’s no better tradition than tomorrow when we can mock them incessantly when nothing they said comes true. Not one to be left out any time there’s a chance to be mocked, here are my predictions for the first few rounds. Remember, if I get only ONE of these right I’m counting it as a great success. Mocking can only happen if I get all 5 wrong.

 

  1. Pick 32: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: I know Sterling has had some aspirations that the Patriots will trade up and take the other tight end from Iowa, T.J. Hockenson. However, he’s widely regarded of the better of the two for some reason, and is going in the top-20 on most draft boards. Personally, I think Fant is the better option to begin with, and he’s much more likely to fall to the Pats at 32. I’m not sure how much stock you put in the combine, but here’s something interesting for you: Fant finished at the top of the list in 5 of the 7 drills for his position. So he’s an incredible athlete, and at 6’4” still has good size. I’m not sure if they take him at #32 or move that pick up a little bit to grab him, but my best guess is he’s Gronk’s heir apparent.

  2. Pick 56: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama: Look, am I doubling down on one position? Heck yes. That position is clearly their biggest need, and I just want to be able to say I predicted something right in a draft that is the hardest to try and figure out. Fant making it to New England is a best case scenario. So when it doesn’t happen I’ve got my backup pick ready. That’s Smith, a great athlete who doesn’t really fit the size criteria for tight end but does have the quickness to be a difference maker. Think Vernon Davis in his prime. If the Patriots don’t get Fant I think they get Smith.

  3. Pick 64: Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: When you expect the Patriots to zig they typically zag. Nasir isn’t necessarily fitting a need for New England in the short term, but in the long term he makes sense. The biggest complaint against him is that he plays for an FCS school, and coach Bill Belichick won’t care about that. And we all know he plans for the future. Who knows how much longer the McCourty twins will play in the NFL?

  4. Pick 73: Ryan Finley, QB, NC State: Finley isn’t going all that high because he doesn’t throw a great deep ball, and doesn’t have a ton of muscle. But scouting reports tout his accuracy in the short game and good decision making, as well as a quick release. I’d consider those things top priority in a future Pats quarterback. I’m not sure he’s the long term solution, but give him a couple years under Brady and lets see what happens.

  5. Pick 97: Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama: There are very few predictors that are reliable when it comes to predicting a Belichick draft, but to me the most accurate one is team/coach the player played for. It’s no secret Belichick and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban are close friends, and Belichick has a tendency to rely on those relationships come draft time. Plus Alabama tends to be pretty good at football. Hence the second player from that team headed to New England. Wilson could step in and play immediately in a linebacking core that is strong up front but lacks much depth outside of Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. Add in Wilson and a healthy Ja’Whuan Bentley and that’s a formidable core.

Aaron Jackson is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.