10 players Patriots will be keeping an eye on in Round 1

Ryan Hannable
April 25, 2019 - 3:29 pm

The NFL draft is finally here with the first round set for Thursday night.

New England has the No. 32 overall pick, but it will be paying close attention to what goes on ahead of them not only to see who might be available when it is on the clock, but also if a player falls maybe to make a trade.

With 12 selections overall, and six in the top 101, anything can happen.

Here are 10 players the Patriots will be keeping an eye on in Round 1.

TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa — There’s almost no chance the Patriots land Hockenson, even via trade, but where he goes could impact them. If he goes early, Noah Fant has a good chance of going sooner than expected and then the Patriots likely would miss out on a trade up possibility.

TE Noah Fant, Iowa — Fant is the second-best tight end in the draft and reportedly the Patriots will “seriously consider” trading up for him. It’s just a matter of when he’s still around, as it would need to get to around No. 20 for the Patriots to be in a real position to make a move. Some have him now sliding to the end of the first round, which would make things very interesting.

QB Daniel Jones, Duke — The Duke product has been mocked to the Patriots a bunch, but he likely won’t be around with all the buzz he’s received of late. He could set the trend on quarterbacks depending on how high he goes. If he goes higher than expected, maybe there’s a run on QBs in Round 1 as teams make sure they get one.

DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson — If the edge rusher falls to No. 32 he would be hard for the Patriots to pass up, but the consensus is he will be gone by the time the Patriots are on the clock.

DL Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State — Simmons could really go anywhere in the first round, especially considering video of him hitting a woman has surfaced. On the field, he’s a first-round talent, but obviously he comes with some baggage.

CB Joejaun Williams, Vanderbilt — Over the last few weeks, more and more experts have mocked cornerbacks to the Patriots at No. 32 with Williams being at the top of the list. The Vanderbilt product will be worth keeping an eye on, especially if he’s available when the Patriots pick.

DL Dexter Lawrence, Clemson — Lawrence could be one of the more safe picks in the entire draft and defensive tackle is certainly a need. He’s likely a consideration at No. 32.

TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama — If Hockenson and Fant go like expected, do the Patriots maybe reach a bit to take Smith to ensure they have a solid young tight end, or take a chance and wait until the second or third round?

OL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College — Lindstrom has climbed draft boards the last several weeks and now it seems like he has a very good chance of being taken Thursday night. If available at No. 32, he may be too good for the Patriots to pass up.

WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss — Wide receiver will be an interesting position to track, as there hasn’t been a great deal of consensus on what will happen. If few receivers are selected ahead of them someone they have a high grade on falls, like Brown, maybe the Patriots break the trend and draft a wide out in Round 1.

WEEI's draft coverage is brought to you by Town Fair Tire.

Related: Patriots reportedly will 'seriously consider' trading up for TE Noah Fant