New England Patriots
Dont’a Hightower was taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Is the New England Patriots dynasty coming to an end? It sure seems like that. While Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are nearing the end of the road, the Patriots roster quietly stinks. Outside of Gronk, who would have started for the Eagles in the Super Bowl last year? Better yet, who would have started for the Jaguars on the Patriots roster? New England has virtually no young talent and really need to strike it rich in the 2018 NFL Draft. Having said that, what can we expect from the New England Patriots in the 2018 NFL Draft?

You can expect Bill Belichick to trade down in the first round unless there’s a player he REALLY likes. That hasn’t happened since he moved up to bring in the class that scored two home runs in Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. For the sake of making a pick, you would have to think the Patriots will target an offensive lineman early. New England is set to lose three tackles this offseason including starting left tackle Nate Solder. With Belichick, it’s impossible to know who he will target but there’s no doubt they need a tackle.

The second round will be an important one considering that they only got the 43rd overall pick for Jimmy Garoppolo. Signing Adrian Clayborn will help their woeful defensive line but they need more bodies. Frankly, they need an entire defense beyond Hightower and a few secondary pieces. The NC State defensive line unit feels like something the Pats will target. They have a number of prospects including Kentavious Street, B.J. Hill, and Justin Jones. Street was a big standout at the East-West Game. Jones and Hill both really shined at the Senior Bowl. Neither are as talented as teammate, Bradley Chubb but are really good football players in their own right. Depending on health concerns, Maurice Hearst of Michigan may also be on the board.

The other second-round pick could be used on a tight end. There’s no denying that Gronk flirted with retirement and always battles with injuries. New England also cut both Martellus Bennett this offseason. Dwayne Allen was traded for last year but he stinks to high heaven. Tight end is a need here, especially because they run two tight end sets a lot. Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki would be a great fit. Now he isn’t much of a blocker but he is a really talented pass catcher. Gesicki also posted crazy vertical numbers at the combine and could create a great red zone threat for Tom Brady. If New England wants more of a blocker, Durham Smythe of Notre Dame could be the answer.

You have to think at some point the Pats will also target a development quarterback. Kyle Lauletta of Richmond could be a candidate. So could Mike White of Western Kentucky. The Senior Bowl quarterbacks this year put on a passing clinic (outside of Baker Mayfield) and put up huge numbers for the scouts. Belichick has been successful finding late round quarterbacks like Tom Brady, of course. You have to think this is a year where the Pats try to find one.

  • Round 1, Pick 31 (31st overall) – Assigned Selection
  • Round 2, Pick 11 (43rd overall) – From San Francisco*
  • Round 2, Pick 31 (63rd overall) – Assigned Selection
  • Round 3, Pick 31 (95th overall) – Assigned Selection
  • Round 4, Pick 36 (136th overall) – Compensatory
  • Round 5, Pick 22 (159th overall) – From Cleveland
  • Round 7, Pick 1 (219th overall) – From Cleveland