Round 1, Pick No. 32: Jerry Tillery, iDL, Notre Dame
Interior defensive line was a big need for the Patriots going into the offseason. Then they lost Malcom Brown in free agency and that need became even bigger. We know the Patriots like to stay versatile in how they use their defensive linemen. The addition of Michael Bennett will help, but by pairing Bennett with the talented Tillery, the Pats will have addressed their biggest need in both free agency and the draft.
Round 2, Pick No. 56: Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
Wether or not Rob Gronkowski comes back to play another year in New England makes no difference to me in terms of how I prioritize this position as a potential need for New England; if I am the Pats, I am addressing tight end early in this talented tight end group. The Pats likely won't be in the running for Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson, but using their early second round pick on Irv Smith would be a wise choice. Have him run with Gronk for a year and then take the reins next season after a likely Gronkowski retirement.
Round 2, Pick No. 64: Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Without Josh Gordon, the Patriots wide receiver room is lacking a dynamic threat. We know that the Patriots had interest in both Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., so we know that adding a wide receiver weapon in the first two rounds is certainly on their radar. Samuel makes a lot of sense for the Pats as a team that likes to mix up how they align their wide outs. Samuel can succeed at the boundary and in the slot.
Round 3, Pick No. 73: Ben Banogu, EDGE, TCU
Though the Patriots had a bigger need on the interior defensive line, losing pass rusher Trey Flowers in free agency means they need to invest some sort of Top 100 draft capital into the edge position. After the top crop of edge players are gone, you're going to have to start to take risks on guys with high upside. After a very nice Combine showing, Banogu presents a team with ideal athletic traits. He hasn't been playing the position long, and his best days of football should be ahead of him.
Round 3, Pick No. 97: Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State
Just because the Patriots would be wise to dip into the tight end class early doesn't mean they can't do it again. I think New England should not only get Gronkowski's replacement (scheme wise, not talent wise -- no one will ever be Gronk), but by picking up two tight ends, they'll have even more diversity of options once Gronk does move on. This will make for a more seamless transition.
Round 3, Pick No. 101: Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke
The Pats having Hightower in the middle works for them, but I do think they could use some extra depth and potential starting mates next to him. Giles-Harris is a smart middle man who can produce with a good defensive line in front of him. If the Pats can address defensive line a bit with their first few picks, as they have in this mock, Giles-Harris could play right next to Hightower with success.
Round 4, Pick No. 134: Daylon Mack, iDL, Texas A&M
I had the Pats adding a pass rushing element to their interior defensive line with their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but with the luxury of having so many draft picks in this class, they can afford to double dip a bit and take a chance on another fast, powerful interior defensive lineman, former 5-star Daylon Mack. Mack's size (he's a bowling ball type) is what makes him a mid-round pick instead of a Day 2 pick, but the kid can play.
Round 6, Pick No. 205: Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
Even with Samuel on the team, after drafting him in the second round early in this mock, the Patriots' wide receiver room would still be a short one (height wise). Hurd's football journey has been interesting, as he not only made the transfer from Tennessee to Baylor, but also made the transition from running back to receiver. He's still learning, but he's a big, strong wide out who would give New England more of a third down and red zone option out side of just the tight end position.
Round 7, Pick No. 239: Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State
I know the Patriots seem to have a million running backs who they could make work, but as stated before, with the luxury of having so many picks, they can afford to just take the guys who they think might just be the best overall football players. Anderson is a quick back who is great out of the backfield in the passing game. He was really putting a number on safeties and linebackers he went up against at the Senior Bowl before he got hurt.
Round 7, Pick No. 243: Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
Ok, so I caved and gave the Patriots another receiver who is exactly of the mold they already have -- so sue me. But I do really like the idea of Dortch in New England. He's a guy who wins with quickness, good route running and reliable hands. He's also a nice special teams option.
Round 7, Pick No. 246: Jamal Peters, CB, MSU
On paper, you might think that the Patriots should really be addressing cornerback sooner than this. But by re-signing Jason McCourty, most of their defensive back group from last year in still in place. That's why I think taking a late-round flyer on a bigger guy like Jamal Peters (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) could actually be the play for them, instead of investing a higher pick in a guy who likely wouldn't start.
Round 7, Pick No. 252: Lamont Gaillard, iOL, Georgia
If you just looked at the free agency report and saw that the Patriots lost one of their starting offensive tackles, you'd figure they had to invest a higher pick on the offensive line. But it's easy to forget that this team also has Isaiah Wynn, who will now just step right in to that hole left by Trent Brown's departure. Instead, I think the stronger play is grabbing a lineman later and let the best position coach in the NFL, Pats offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, mold him into a good reserve player.