Prospects for Patriots to Avoid in 2022 NFL DraftApril 13, 2022
Prospects for Patriots to Avoid in 2022 NFL Draft
Bill Belichick's New England Patriots have a history of choosing Alabama Crimson Tide players in the NFL draft.
The Patriots used their first two selections in 2021 on Mac Jones and Christian Barmore. In prior seasons, Anfernee Jennings was picked in 2020 and Damien Harris was grabbed in 2019.
The 2022 NFL draft once again features a slew of top-tier talent out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but there is one prospect in a position of need the Patriots should avoid.
Wide receiver Jameson Williams tore his ACL late in Alabama's season, and he will be in the recovery process for most of the early days of Patriots camp.
That would not be an ideal situation for the Patriots, who need to hit the ground running in 2022 to keep pace with, or take over, the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
Prospects from Alabama, or other top college programs, should be on New England's radar, but Williams may be deemed as too much of a risk.
Jameson Williams is a fascinating potential prospect for the New England offense.
Williams had a breakout campaign at Alabama with 1,572 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches. He transferred out of Ohio State because he sat behind two potential first-round picks in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
Olave, Wilson and others may be a better selection for the Patriots in the first round because Williams is coming off an ACL injury.
Williams possesses a ton of potential, but the Patriots can't wait until a few weeks into the season to let the Alabama product loose.
New England's potential selection of a wide receiver at No. 21 will come down to which players are still available.
If Williams, Olave and Wilson are gone, the Patriots could shift to another positional need and revisit wide receiver in later rounds.
That might be an ideal strategy for the franchise since its last first-round pick at wide receiver, N'Keal Harry, did not pan out.
New England may pivot away from a wide receiver at No. 21 to improve its interior offensive line play.
The Patriots lost Ted Karras and Shaq Mason in the offseason. They need young blood at the position to protect Mac Jones and play with the 2021 first-round pick for a few years.
Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is the No. 1 interior offensive lineman in the draft class, per Bleacher Report's NFL scouting staff, but he spent most of his college career at center.
Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M and Boston College's Zion Johnson could be better selections for the Patriots because of their experience at the guard position.
Green was mocked to the Patriots by NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. The draft expert called the Texas A&M product “an early starter with Pro Bowl potential.”
Linderbaum could have a strong NFL career, but he might take a bit of time to adjust to playing guard at a consistent rate.
Green and Johnson played there on a consistent basis in college and could be better suited to slide into the vacancies on the New England offensive line.
Cornerback is the third position the Patriots should have an eye on at No. 21.
They may wait until the second round to go after a replacement for J.C. Jackson because of more pressing needs on the offensive side of the ball.
Derion Kendrick has the big-program pedigree that Bill Belichick and his staff typically go after, but the Georgia defensive back has not impressed in the pre-draft process.
Bleacher Report's NFL scouting staff noted that Kendrick's stock is on the decline, observing "he never looked particularly fast on tape."
New England could wait until the third round to land a cornerback because it could press on with its offensive strategy.
If that is the case, Belichick could follow his trend of recent years and land Josh Jobe out of Alabama.
UTSA's Tariq Woolen, Washington's Kyler Gordon and Alontae Taylor out of Tennessee are among the other players the Patriots could consider on Day 2 and 3 at cornerback.