2021 NFL Draft: Four most tradeable Patriots players on Day 3

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Tom E. Curran
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Curran: Four Pats players most likely to be traded during draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots have been sprinting up the aisles this offseason, throwing new talent in the carriage at a variety of spots.

At some point, it’s going to be out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new at several spots. But talent that’s obsolete here may be valued elsewhere and there’s no better time to deal than late in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Aside from the oft-discussed Stephon Gilmore, who else on the Patriots' roster could be moved?

Patriots Talk Podcast: Pats strengthen their front-seven adding Barmore and Perkins in NFL Draft | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Start with running back Sony Michel and pass-rushing specialist Chase Winovich.

On Saturday, the Patriots added Oklahoma’s Rhamondre Stevenson, a 231-pound block of a man who – while he may never be as electric as LeGarrette Blount – projects as the same kind of hammering first and second-down back who will excel in short yardage. By the end of last season, it was clear Damien Harris had leapfrogged Michel as the better of the two every-down backs.

Michel, a 2018 first-rounder, has been better than public discourse would have you think. His 2019 season, for example, was doomed by a disgraceful offensive line performance that year. But the injury history he entered the league with has accompanied him every step of the way.

Harris is a better player. Michel is entering the last year of his rookie contract and the Patriots aren’t likely to pick up his fifth-year option. So get something back.

Same thing with Winovich. The team took Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins in the third round. He’s built almost identically to Winovich. Besides Perkins, the Patriots added Matthew Judon in free agency and they have second-year player Josh Uche who can play multiple spots. Winovich, a 2019 third-rounder, has two years left on his rookie deal at salaries of $850K and $965K. He’s 26.

Identical on the Edge

Perkins' height, weight

6-foot-3, 253 pounds

Winovich's height, weight

6-foot-3, 250 pounds

Variation

Double

Like Michel, Winovich has been a good player for the Patriots. He’s absolutely got a knack for getting around the corner and works relentlessly to create pressure. But his usage in 2020 was up and down in the middle of the season. And while it’s that way for every defender on a game-plan defense like the Patriots, it was more pronounced for Winovich.

Is he redundant now that Perkins is aboard? Meanwhile, there’s little doubt he’d pique the interest of several teams thanks both to his contract status and productivity.

Curran: Barmore, Perkins add much-needed help to front seven

Two others who haven’t been as productive but could be attractive? N’Keal Harry, the Patriots 2019 first-rounder who just hasn’t come close to reaching even the lowest expectations for productivity in his first two seasons. He’s a young and talented kid who may be best off with a change of scenery.

The same goes for Joejuan Williams, the second-rounder from Vanderbilt drafted in 2019 to be a Brandon Browner-type supersized corner. Only four times did Williams play more than 20 defensive snaps last year. Four times he didn’t take a defensive snap at all.

Whether he’s a diamond-in-the-rough whose development was short-circuited by 2020’s weird offseason or just plain rough and not going to work out here, we could find out this offseason.