New England Patriots NFL Draft Fantasy Preview
Replacing Malcolm Butler Should Be Addressed Early in the NFL Draft
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Finishing just short of yet another Super Bowl victory, the Patriots’ offseason has been full of questions so far. You have the turmoil rumored between the front office and Bill Belichick. You also have to wonder just when this Tom Brady era will finally come to an end. So looking ahead to this draft, the selections made can go a long way to telling us just what will unfold for this team moving forward. Do they begin to make preparations for the eventual retirement of Brady, or do they continue to go full steam ahead while the window remains open?
When it comes to Fantasy perceptions, you know exactly what you are getting with this offense. It’s Brady or bust. He is the engine that drives this train and should continue to be one of the top quarterbacks off the board in drafts. Brandin Cooks is gone, Julian Edelman is back, Rob Gronkowski is still Gronk and this receiving core will still be one that causes headaches on a weekly basis. You’re sure to get a safe floor from both Gronkowski and Edelman weekly, but outside of that it can tend be tricky.
On the subject of tricky, this Patriots running game can always drive a Fantasy owner crazy. Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, James White and the newly-signed Jeremy Hill all will vie for time in a crowded backfield. Looking at it from a Fantasy perspective, White has appeal but mostly in PPR formats, while Burkhead is your guy in a standard format. Gillislee and Hill could both factor in as well, which makes trusting a Patriots running back hard to do in Fantasy as always.
Team Needs: CB, LB, QB
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: Jaire Alexander, CB Louisville
Kolton Miller, OT UCLA
Second Round: Lorenzo Carter, LB Georgia
With the departure of Malcolm Butler, cornerback is a position that the Pats should go after early with all the picks they have gathered in this draft. Alexander is a quick and instinctive corner, the type of player that Belichick likes to work with. His ability to anticipate throws, coupled with his ball skills, will make him a player with turnover potential. He comes into the league with durability concerns, but if healthy, Alexander figures to develop into a solid starting corner at the NFL level.
Kolton Miller just feels like a Patriots type of prospect. He is a tackle with above average height and length that plays at a high level on every snap. He has great timing and utilizes plus hand strength to maintain blocks throughout a play. His abilities can make up for lapses in technique from time to time. Miller should come in and play right away for this Patriots team, and if he gets coached up accordingly, he should make quite the starter that will solidify the offensive line.
Lorenzo Carter is a prospect that showed promise coming into college but didn’t live up to the hype. He should be drafted high. If the Patriots can get him in the second round and coach him up to his potential, then you have a steal. He is long and rangy, closes in on plays very quickly, and is very active when it comes to tackling. If lined up as an edge pass rusher, his initial quick first step can get him to the quarterback for a good amount of pressures. His slender build could lend to health concerns early on, but once he gets more muscle on he, he should be fine. Carter has plenty of upside, assuming this coaching staff can get it out of him.
Jaire Alexander Featured Image: (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
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