FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots enter the 2018 NFL draft with a significant opportunity to add much-needed athleticism to their roster, and their adaptability to what unfolds before them in the first round Thursday night will help determine their success.
Coach Bill Belichick often says that when the team is picking later in the round, as it is Thursday (Nos. 23, 31), there is always an aspect of unpredictability. So the team has to be ready for everything, and here are a few final thoughts:
Belichick has made 61 draft-day trades in 18 years, and that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Be ready for trade movement, and as history shows, it could be in either direction.
As much as the Patriots would benefit from adding a quarterback, I don’t envision them forcing it in the first round.
The same is true for left tackle.
My view is that the best-case scenario of talent meeting need would be if offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame) or linebackers Rashaan Evans (Alabama) or Leighton Vander Esch (Boise State) are available when the Patriots make their first pick.
It can be easy to be influenced by the most recent game the team played, but in the end, my thoughts still trace back to Super Bowl LII and how the Philadelphia Eagles had little reason to fear anyone in the Patriots' front seven. The possibility of adding a high-upside prospect in the front seven could help address that.
Positional snapshots with potential prospects who fit (based on my opinion of need):
1. Left tackle
4. Tight end
5. Running back
10. Wide receiver
11. Defensive tackle