NFL Network draft analyst thinks these 2 prospects are perfect Patriots fits
The New England Patriots have a few obvious needs in the 2022 NFL draft: cornerback, linebacker and guard. And yet draft analysts can’t help but pair Bill Belichick’s team with a receiver prospect.
Considering they’re spending the third most at the receiver position among all NFL teams, wideout may not seem like one of their top needs. But they’re clearly still lacking in talent, even after acquiring receiver DeVante Parker in a trade. In 2023, the Patriots are also slated to see Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and N’Keal Harry hit free agency. That uncertain present and future are what makes a prospect like Alabama receiver Jameson Williams so suitable for New England.
“Obviously, Jameson Williams would be a home-run pick,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah told reporters this week. “That would be somebody they would have great info on with Nick (Saban)’s connection there to Bill (Belichick). That to me would be a fun one.”
Williams tore his ACL in January at the end of a monster season: 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. If not for that injury in January, he would be the WR1 in this draft class. And that’s why he hasn’t slipped out of the first round, even if he will miss at least the first half of 2023 — and maybe all of the season.
If Williams is gone at 21st overall — and many expect him to be — the Patriots could go for a fit on defense.
“If you want to talk about a real playmaker on defense, I know linebacker — off-the-ball linebacker — has been a little bit undervalued recently. But, man, Devin Lloyd, for all the different things he can do, he kind of just feels like a Patriot-type player with the size, the length, the versatility, the intelligence, the leadership. All that stuff kind of screams Patriot to me,” Jeremiah said.
Lloyd, who at times reminds me of a lanky version of Jamie Collins, was a receiver at Utah before converting to receiver. His transition has been pretty darn effective, with 111 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions in 2021. He’s a three-down linebacker that can play on the inside and outside.
“Those are kind of a couple examples,” Jeremiah said. “But I just think, again, faster, more dynamic, more explosive has got to be an area they’ve got to look at in this draft.”
One linebacker the Patriots could target in every round of the 2022 draft