2022 NFL Mock Draft roundup: Early first-round pick predictions for Patriots

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2022 NFL Mock Draft roundup: Early first-round predictions for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots had a very good 2021 season by most measures, even though it ended in lackluster fashion with a 47-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round.

The team won 10 games and returned to the playoffs after a disappointing 2020 campaign. New England also found a quality starting quarterback in rookie Mac Jones. He was part of what looks to be a strong 2021 rookie class for the Patriots, one that also includes defensive tackle Christian Barmore and running back Rhamondre Stevenson, both of whom had excellent first years with the Patriots.

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Despite the draft successes of a year ago, there are still plenty of roster holes the Patriots must address before next season. The 2022 NFL Draft will be an important part of that process, and the Patriots have the No. 21 overall pick in the first round.

Wide receiver is one of the team's biggest needs. Kendrick Bourne turned out to be a solid free-agent addition. Nelson Ahgolor was inconsistent and didn't provide the expected production of a free-agent pickup. N'Keal Harry again failed to meet expectations. It's probably time to move on from the team's 2019 first-round pick. Jakobi Meyers had the best season of his career, but he's ideally a No. 2 wideout.

The Patriots still lack a true, No. 1 wide receiver with top-tier playmaking ability. There are some very exciting wide receiver prospects in this draft, and a few of them could be on the board when the Patriots are on the clock in Round 1.

New England has issues on defense, too, especially at linebacker, where the team is too old and not athletic enough. Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean is a popular pick for the Pats in mock drafts after his fantastic season starring for the Bulldogs' national championship-winning defense.

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Cornerback is another position the Patriots need to add depth in, especially if J.C. Jackson departs as a free agent in the offseason.

Here's a roundup of recent 2022 NFL Mock Draft predictions for the Patriots' first-round pick.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

Dane Brugler, The Athletic: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Luke Easterling, Draftwire: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Eddie Brown, San Diego Tribune: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Tankathon: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Drake London, WR, USC

Walter Football: Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah