Mel Kiper Jr. floats intruiging trade idea for Patriots in 2022 NFL Draft

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The 2022 NFL Draft is around the corner and the New England Patriots still have a lot of holes to fill.

First and foremost, the cornerback position is going to need attention following the loss of J.C. Jackson. Typically, Bill Belichick doesn’t draft the team’s biggest needs in the first round — but, he did make an exception last year by selecting Mac Jones.

New England went out grabbed Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler in free agency to add some depth. The group now consists of Butler, Mitchell, Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams and Shaun Wade.

Belichick knows he doesn’t have a star cornerback to lead the charge and that could make for an interesting draft scenario. The best three players on the board at the position are Derek Stingley, Sauce Gardener and Trent McDuffie — all of which will likely be gone before pick No. 21.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss wrote a column on Sunday and relayed Mel Kiper Jr.’s thoughts for the Patriots.

“Kiper wonders if Belichick might consider a trade into the teens if Stingley slips into that range, considering Stingley was tracking as a possible No. 1 player in the draft if not for the 2020 COVID-19 season and then suffering a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot that sidelined him for nine games in 2021,” Reiss wrote.

Stingley’s biggest downfall was his lack of availability over the past two seasons, as he only played 10 games. But, he’s 6-foot-1, 200 pounds and he’s by far one of the best athletes in the entire draft. They could also look into Gardener or McDuffie is Stingley were to get drafted early on.

The Patriots can make do at other positions with the talent they have, but cornerback will be a main priority and a draft day trade may be necessary.

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