The Patriots still could use another safety with the toughness to play in the box and athleticism to man the slot. This player presumably would compete with Jordan Richards for a roster spot.
Here are players who fit the Patriots’ typical draft standards with each of their seven draft picks.
Round 3, 72nd Overall Pick: Desmond King, Iowa
King is a versatile player who could line up in the slot or at safety. He’s a strong tackler and allowed just a 41.5 passer rating in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus’ Draft Edge.
He’s not a burner but ran a 6.67-second three-cone drill and 4.18-second short shuttle at 5-foot-10, 201 pounds.
Round 3, 96th Overall Pick: Delano Hill, Michigan
Hill is a solid tackler, is strong in coverage and has experience in the slot.
At 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash with a 6.96-second three-cone.
Round 4, 131st Overall Pick: Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech
Who? No, not that Xavier Woods.
This one is 5-foot-11, 197 pounds and ran a 4.51-second 40 with a 6.72-second three-cone.
He’s another strong tackler with experience in the slot. Sense a trend?
Round 5, 163rd Overall Pick: John Johnson, Boston College
Johnson missed just five combined tackles in 2016 with the Eagles, ranking fourth in Pro Football Focus’ tackle efficiency metric.
He ran a 6.72-second three-cone with a 4.18-second shuttle, 37-inch vertical leap and 10-foot broad jump.
Round 5, 183rd Overall Pick: Jadar Johnson, Clemson
Johnson is a future free safety. At 6 feet, 206 pounds, he ran a 6.90-second three-cone with a 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump and 4.20-second shuttle.
Round 6, 200th Overall Pick: Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami
Jenkins is a great all-around athlete at 6-foot-1, 214 pounds. He meets the Patriots’ typical standards with a 4.51-second 40, 37-inch vertical, 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump, 7.06-second three-cone and 4.20-second shuttle.
Round 7, 239th Overall Pick: Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech
Clark was solid as a run defender last season and contributed in the slot.
He’s a great athlete at 6 feet, 208 pounds, running a 6.85-second three-cone with a 4.07-second shuttle.
Undrafted Free Agent: Kai Nacua, BYU
Nacua wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he put on a show at his pro day with a 4.49-second 40, 39-inch vertical, 10-foot, 7-inch broad jump, 6.87-second three-cone and 4.14-second shuttle.
He missed just four tackles last season.
Potential First-Round Pick: Budda Baker, Washington
The best safety on this list who can play in the slot, is a strong tackler and ran a superb three-cone.
Other fits include LSU’s Jamal Adams, N.C. State’s Josh Jones, Utah’s Marcus Williams, UConn’s Obi Melifonwu, Utah’s Jason Thompson and Southern Georgia’s Ironhead Gallon.
Thompson is more of a special-teams option than a safety, but he’s a tremendous athlete.
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