Need rating: First
What's missing? Starting experience at left tackle and a clean read on what Garcia, who was selected in the third round last year (No. 85), might be able to provide the Patriots in 2018 after missing his rookie season with an illness.
2018 draft class primer: For the second straight year, this is not considered a strong class at tackle, while it is viewed as especially deep along the interior.
Key stat: Matt Light (2001-11) and Nate Solder (2012-17) were the Patriots’ last two starting left tackles, which highlights how the position (outside of games missed due to injuries) has mostly been solidified in the Patriots’ last 17 seasons.
My take: Belichick made the point last year about how the team was fortunate to have four quality tackles (Solder, Cannon, Cameron Fleming, Waddle) and that the Patriots needed all of them at various points of the year. He has also noted how tackles are often highly paid in free agency, which highlights the value of the position relative to others. So a team can seldom go wrong picking a solid tackle in the draft with the intention of developing him. Looking back, the Patriots were in the mix to re-sign Solder early in free agency, which indicates that as good as they might feel about Garcia emerging in 2018, they were still heavily pursuing Solder’s return. With that context, it makes sense to think they’ll take a long look at drafting one of the top tackles this year. Crosby and Miller were among the team’s 30 pre-draft visits, with Miller's length and potential for growth sometimes compared by others to Solder when Solder was coming out of the 2011 draft.