The New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Profile

New England Patriots 2018 Recap

Another year, another championship for the greatest dynasty in American sports history. Hate ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to respect what this team is able to accomplish year in and year out in the salary cap era of the NFL. The year was unlike any other run for the Patriots. However, it began with something that has been a bit too familiar in recent seasons and that was a bumpy September. After knocking off the Texans in Week 1, the Pats were blown out in Jacksonville and then lost an embarrassing match up to the Lions on Sunday Night Football. A lack of WR depth forced them to trade for much maligned wide out Josh Gordon. After the return of Julian Edelman from a 4-week suspension, the Patriots got back on track.

They looked sharp until a rough afternoon in Tennessee caused them to limp into the bye week. The Patriots hit rock bottom when they allowed a fail Mary to succeed in Miami, losing to the Dolphins in improbable fashion. They were the 3rd seed in the conference and would lose the next week to Pittsburgh. After a stumble by Houston, they regained the number 2 seed and would reinvent themselves around a strong defense and dominant run game. That formula would carry them to their 6th Super Bowl title in the Brady-Belichick era.

The 2018 NFL Draft was mostly a wash for New England. Ja’Whaun Bentley looked very promising early on but suffered a torn biceps and was lost for the season. Isaiah Wynn, the teams top pick, suffered a blown Achilles in the preseason. Duke Dawson lurked in the background mostly in a redshirt year. The best pick for the Patriots came from 1st round running back Sony Michel. Michel turned into a workhorse in an offense known for taking a committee approach. He is one of the biggest reasons the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Needs:

Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio are the ones who call the shots in New England come draft time. They will have more than enough draft capital to maneuver around the board, holding 12 picks total and 6 in the top 101. The needs are as follows:

  • TE: The retirement of Rob Gronkowski created a Gronk-sized hole in the Patriots offense. They will be the first to tell you that there is no replacing Rob Gronkowski with one player. I expect the Patriots to take at least 1 and maybe even 2 tight ends in the Draft.
  • WR: The Patriots’ depth chart at WR is, for lack of a better term, unheralded. After Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman (who turns 33 in May), the Pats are relying on Phillip Dorsett, journeyman Bruce Ellington and little-known Maurice Harris. They will almost certainly be adding multiple wide receivers in this draft.
  • DL: New England allowed Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown to seek greener pastures elsewhere. There is no hint of Danny Shelton returning. They re-signed John Simon who came on and played very well last year and traded for Michael Bennett to replace some of what Flowers can do. They could use some solid depth along the defensive line whether it be at defensive tackle or end.

New England Patriots NFL Draft Targets:

1st Round, 32nd Overall Pick: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

I can’t believe I am actually trying to predict the Patriots’ upcoming draft selections because I might as well just go kick rocks. They are easily the most difficult team to get a read on heading into the draft. Couple that with the fact that they are guaranteed to move at least one of their 12 picks and this is a daunting task. Here is my best guess and, like last year when they surprised with an RB in round 1, I’m taking a WR at 32. Kelvin Harmon is a great X WR prospect that could be lethal with an accurate passer. That Brady guy fits the bill and would add another dimension to the New England offense.

Also Possibilities: Jerry Tillery, AJ Brown, Irv Smith Jr. and Dexter Lawrence

2nd Round, 56th Overall Pick: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M

Here is the first guy who will try to fill the shoes of the departed Rob Gronkowski. Sternberger is a very good receiving tight end that should be able to come in and make an immediate impact in the passing game. His blocking leaves a little to be desired but that will be addressed a little later. For now, the Pats get a great receiving tight end to replace some of the production that Gronk left behind.

Also Possibilities: Dexter Lawrence, Deebo Samuel, Parris Campbell, and Taylor Rapp

2nd Round 64th Overall Pick: Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College

Zach Allen is right in New England’s backyard at Boston College. He could easily plug along the defensive line and turn into a good young player. The Patriots need pass rush help and Allen accumulated 16.5 sacks along with 40.5 tacklers for loss in his 4 years at Boston College.

Also Possibilities: Jonathan Abram, Tytus Howard, Andy Isabella

3rd Round 73rd Overall Pick: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am not confident in the receiving options in New England. Gronk was a red zone nightmare and scored touchdowns at an alarming rate. Enter Arcega-Whiteside who is pretty much a jump ball specialist. A guy like this would flourish with Tom Brady throwing him red zone jump balls.

3rd Round 97th Overall Pick: Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State

This is part of the two-player plan to replace Gronk. Warring is a capable receiver but he is a stout blocker and that is where the Patriots will miss Gronk the most. With Warring as a duel threat and Sternberger on the field for obvious passing downs, the Patriots can mix and match to put both player in a position to succeed on the field.

3rd Round 101st Overall Pick: Trysten Hill, IDL, UCF

With the departure of Malcolm Brown and the likely departure of Danny Shelton, the Patriots lack depth along the defensive line. Hill adds some much needed big-bodied depth along a defensive line that is in constant rotation.

4th Round 134th Overall Pick: Ross Pierschbacher, IOL, Alabama

The Patriots understand that depth in the trenches is critical. They are good for at least one or two picks along the offensive and defensive line in every draft. They also have Joe Thuney coming up on free agency and Pierschbacher can be the ready replacement once that time comes.

6th Round 205th Overall Pick: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson

Let’s see here, successful slot receiver who is willing to do the dirty work. Team captain and well liked by teammates. High football IQ who is willing to learn and knows what it takes to win. Yep hunter Renfrow is destined to be a New England Patriot.

7th Round 239th Overall Pick: Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State

Another late round flyer for the Patriots, there is actually a lot to like when it comes to Rypien. He has a big arm and is a stable pocket passer. Brady won’t be around forever and, while he may not end up being the heir apparent, at least Rypien provides an insurance policy.

7th Round 243rd Overall Pick: Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson

The Patriots love targeting team first guys with special teams experience in the later rounds and that is exactly what Lamar brings to the table.

7th Round 246th Overall Pick: Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor

One last throw at the dartboard at receiver, Hurd is an intriguing prospect. Starting as an RB at Tennessee, he transferred to Baylor to become a WR. He was actually very productive and has very good size and speed.

7th Round 252nd Overall Pick: Casey Tucker, OT, Arizona State

Again, depth is key in the later rounds. Tucker would be used primarily as a depth option and a swing tackle in big packages.

2019 NFL Draft Grade

2019 NFL Draft grades will be added to NFL Draft Profiles following the 2019 NFL Draft. Make sure to bookmark this page and/or follow us on twitter to ensure you see the grade as soon as it comes out.

Team Preview: Kansas City Royals

John Aurora, Contributor 

Key Players

Whit Merrifield (rank 81, ADP 94.9)

2017: .288 AVG, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 80 R, 34 SB

What a breakout for Merrifield in 2017 as he produced in all five categories with a .288 AVG, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 80 R, 34 SB (led the AL in SB). His contact rate was in line with his minor league numbers, 85%, and his .308 BABIP suggest last season was not flukey. Expect his power numbers to regress somewhat but the speed is real making him a very valuable player. For leagues with a less than 20 minimum for position eligibility, keep an eye on where Merrifield plays as he had 1 game as a first and third baseman, and 17 games as an outfielder.

Salvador Perez (rank 154, ADP 117.8)

2017: .268 AVG, 27 HR, 80 RBI, 57 R, 1 SB

The steady Perez improved his power stroke last season ending with 27 homers. This season he will have less lineup support with the departures of Hosmer, Cain, and potentially Moustakas, which will affect his counting numbers due to the volume of games he plays. In addition, all the innings he spent behind the plate may have finally caught up to Perez as he had his first injury last season. Perez will be a solid catcher but don’t reach.

Danny Duffy (rank 168, ADP 161.3)

2017: 9 W, 130 K, 3.81 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

Duffy regressed last season as he lost velocity on his fastball, which is problematic for a fly-ball pitcher with control problems. Combine that with playing for a rebuilding team and having “minor” elbow surgery in the offseason and I’ll be staying away.

Deep Sleeper

Adalberto (Raul) Mondesi, 2B (rank 460, ADP 260)

2017: .170 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 5 SB

Mondesi has an outside chance of winning a starting spot either at 2B or in the outfield. Look for him to be called up from AAA later in the year for the rebuilding Royals as Mondesi can be a spark to their lineup given his speed potential. You know my thoughts on speed for a middle infielder. Keep an eye on him throughout the season.

Fantasy Preview: Detroit Tigers

John Aurora, Contributor

Key Players

Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF (rank 112, ADP 110.8)

2017: .272 AVG, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 73 R, 4 SB

Castellanos will be moving to the outfield fulltime this season as he looks to improve upon his breakout season where he posted a .272 AVG, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 73 R due to his improved his contact rate. Despite his cool start, he batted .299 with 16 homers over the final two and a half months. His dual position eligibility in addition to his prime lineup spot to fuel his counting numbers mean he may be undervalued with his current ADP.

Miguel Cabrera, 1B (rank 106, ADP 125.7)

2017: .249 AVG, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 50 R, 0 SB

Last year I was able to draft Cabrera in the third round and thought that was a steal. Wow was I wrong. Cabrera had the worst season of his career due to nagging injuries throughout the season. Miggy snapped his eight-year streak of .300 batting averages and ended with a subpar .249 AVG, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 50 R. I wish I could say that season was a fluke, but back injuries for a 35-year-old player make me cringe, especially for a player that will not be a DH (remember Don Mattingly?). At his ADP, there is enough upside to draft him. He’s the ultimate risk/reward player this season. How lucky are you feeling?

Michael Fulmer, SP (rank 133, ADP 173.7)

2017: 10 W, 114 K, 3.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP

Fulmer is coming off elbow surgery sustained in September and will look to return to the ace of his staff. For fantasy purposes, Fulmer lacks strikeout upside in an era where most starters have high strikeout upside. His elbow injury in addition to his subpar strikeout rate and low win potential mean I will not be taking a flier on him at the end of the draft.

Deep Sleeper

Leonys Martin, OF (rank 395, ADP 260)

2017: .172 AVG, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 14 R, 7 SB

Martin was acquired this offseason coming off a season where he struggled at the plate. If Martin wins the centerfield job, look for him to rebound offensively. In 2016 he had a .247 AVG, 15 HR, 47 RBI, 72 R, 24 SB. If he plays fulltime, and maybe even hits leadoff, look for him to meet or exceed his 2016 numbers. For now I’ll be watching to see how he does in spring training but be prepared to take a flier on him if he wins the job. 

Fantasy Preview: Cleveland Indians

John Aurora, Contributor

The Indians shocked much of the baseball world in 2017, going 102-60 and winning the AL Central. Although their playoff run fell short of a Cinderella story, they have a solid foundation to build on for 2018, here’s the fantasy players you need to watch for:

Key Players

Francisco Lindor, SS (rank 21, ADP 21.0)

2017: .273 AVG, 33 HR, 89 RBI, 99 R, 15 SB

Lindor transformed dramatically from being a high-contact, high-stolen base guy to a power hitter with less-than-expected stolen bases. Although his average went down, his contact rate remained the same, so his average could return closer to .300 than .270. I think there’s potential for stolen bases to go up too. Maybe a realistic projection is .290 AVG, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 100 R, 20 SB. A solid line for a shortstop, who I’ll be targeting early on.

Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B (rank 22, ADP 24.8)

2017: .318 AVG, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 107 R, 17 SB

Ramirez broke out last year hitting .318 with 29 HR, 83 RBI, 107 R, 17 SB. Ramirez has always been a high contact player and at age 25, I think he is just scratching his ceiling. He is a five-category contributor in addition to his dual position eligibility. Feel confident drafting him early.

Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH (rank 27, ADP 44.9)

2017: .258 AVG, 38 HR, 107 RBI, 96 R, 2 SB

Encarnacion started off slowly last year, but ended with his normal elite power numbers, .258 AVG, 38 HR, 107 RBI, 96 R. He will be 35 years old this season and is coming off a sprained ankle in the playoffs, but will fulfill the everyday DH role this year vacated by Carlos Santana meaning his age-related decline may not affect his production as much. Temper expectations somewhat, but expect his usual 30+ home runs.

Corey Kluber, SP (rank 13, ADP 14.9)

2017: 18 W, 265 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.87 WHIP

I think Kluber can be even better than last year. Remember, he was a workhorse in the 2016 playoffs, so I think the added rest this offseason will do wonders for the reliable Kluber. Plan on anchoring your staff with him.

Carlos Carrasco, SP (rank 43, ADP 37.6)

2017: 18 W, 226 K, 3.29 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

For the first time in his career, Carrasco remained healthy to finish with 200 innings. His injury history cannot be ignored; however, plan on drafting him as your second pitcher with the potential of an ace.

Sleepers

Mike Clevinger, SP (rank 215, ADP 220.3)

2017: 12 W, 137 K, 3.11 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Clevinger was dominant at the end of last year posting a 10.1 K/9 rate before moving to the bullpen. He only pitched 120 innings last year so if he can pitch 180 innings while limiting his walks, enjoy the ride as his wins and strikeouts will surely add up. When I target pitchers, I want strikeout potential. The pitchers that have at least a 10.1 K/9: Chris Sale, Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, Chris Archer, Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Carrasco, and Jimmy Nelson. Not a bad list to be on. I think he can be real good if given the chance, so I am BUYING (see position battles).

Bradley Zimmer, OF (rank 308, ADP 221.0)

2017: .241 AVG, 8 HR, 39 RBI, 41 R, 18 SB

If Zimmer can keep his job in center field, he will be a sleeper this year. Zimmer stole 18 bases in 101 games last year, although his season ended prematurely with a broken hand. Zimmer has the speed to steal at least 30 bases to go along with 10-15 HRs. Steals are scarce, notice the theme? At his ADP, I am BUYING.

Position Battles

4th and 5th spot of starting pitcher rotation

Candidates: Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin

My prediction: Mike Clevinger, Josh Tomlin

I think the days of counting Salazar as a sleeper/breakout are over. His upside is tantalizing but his durability and control are a concern, especially his right shoulder inflammation history. Only once in the last 4 years has he been able to pitch over 180 innings. I would love to see Salazar put it together this season, but my expectations are low. I think he would be a dynamic option in the bullpen to pair with Andrew Miller. That leaves Clevinger and Tomlin to finalize the rotation.

Fantasy Preview: Chicago White Sox

John Aurora, Contributor

The White Sox struggled in 2017, finishing with a record of 67-95. Although they’re not pinned for the top of the AL Central in 2018 either, they have some great fantasy assets; especially when it comes to value. Here are the players to watch in 2018:

Key Players

Jose Abreu, 1B (rank 37, ADP 37.6)

2017: .304 AVG, 33 HR, 102 RBI, 95 R, 3 SB

Abreu is as consistent as it comes producing at least a .290 AVG, 25 HR, and 100 RBI every year he’s been in the big leagues. He is one of those players that have a high-floor, low-ceiling, and should be considered once the top tier of first basemen are drafted.

Avisail Garcia, OF (rank 220, ADP 197.7)

2017: .330 AVG, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R, 5 SB

Garcia finally put it together last season as “Little Miggy” (referring to comparisons to Miguel Cabrera) hit a .330 AVG, 18 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R, 5 SB. However, Garcia did lead the league in BABIP, .392, making this type of production unsustainable. The 26-year-old is now in his prime years and maybe figured it out last year making him worth a spot as your last outfielder.

Sleepers

Yoan Moncada, 2B (rank 100, ADP 167.7)

2017: .231 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 31 R, 3 SB

The hype train for Moncada last year was out of control. Moncada struggled last year hitting a .231 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 3 SB; however, he turned it up in September hitting .276 with 5 HR over his final 24 games. Hitting near the top of the lineup, the White Sox will need an offensive spark and Moncada will be key for them. He has legitimate potential for a 20/20 season this year, and at his current ADP, I am BUYING Moncada even if his ADP increases over the coming weeks. Stolen bases are once again scarce, especially for a middle infielder, so I’ll have no problem drafting him. The speed is real and he’ll have the ‘go’ to take that additional base.

Wellington Castillo, C (rank 248, ADP 229.8)

2017: .282 AVG, 20 HR, 53 RBI, 44 R, 0 SB

Castillo inked a two-year deal with the White Sox to be their top catcher after hitting .282 AVG, 20 HR, 53 RBI last year with the Orioles where he split time with Caleb Joseph. Moving to another hitter-friendly home, Castillo should carry over his success from last year. His ADP is insanely low considering the lack of depth at catcher. With a lack of competition at catcher this year, Castillo should get a healthy number of at-bats for the first time in his career. Castillo will not hurt your average as many other catchers do and is a threat to hit 20+ homers. If I am unable to draft one of the top three catchers, I am waiting to BUY Castillo as I do not see much difference in value between him and the second tier of catchers.

Prospects

Eloy Jimenez, OF

Acquired from the Cubs during last year’s trade deadline, this kid can rake as he hits for contact and power making him one of the top hitters in the minors. Scouts compare his upside to Giancarlo Stanton. Jimenez should be on your radar mid-to-late season. See 2017 Carolina League Home Run Derby Video.

Michael Kopech, SP

Acquired from the Red Sox last offseason, Kopech has a scary arsenal of pitches including his 100+ mph fastball. Scouts compare his arsenal to Noah Syndergaard. Walks have always been a concern, but late last year he seemed to figure it out with 1.9 walks per nine innings over his last nine games. Although I’m usually hesitant to buy rookie pitchers due to inning restrictions, I think Kopech can be an impactful call-up due to his strikeout potential as long as his control continues to improve.