The New England Patriots currently have one of the thinnest rosters in the league (no, that isn’t hyperbole), but that figures to change once free agency and the draft have concluded.
At that point in the offseason, we would hope the front office would have addressed the wide receiver, defensive end, tight end and potentially cornerback positions depending on if Stephon Gilmore is traded, which is reportedly a real possibility based on the latest buzz.
It goes without saying that all eyes will be on GM Bill Belichick to see how he attacks free agency, as the team is projected to have $68 million in cap space to throw around.
However, we’re equally intrigued to see what Belichick’s draft plan is, which has really betrayed him in recent years.
The Patriots could go many different directions with the No. 15 overall pick, and if it turns out similarly to ESPN expert Todd McShay’s latest mock, fans will have very little to complain about.
After all, he has touted Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons falling to New England.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay’s latest mock has the Patriots drafting a dream linebacker prospect.
Here’s what McShay had to say with regards to explaining why the Patriots should pounce on Parsons at No. 15 overall if he were to fall that far. As expected, it boiled down to him anticipating New England to sign or trade for a quarterback this offseason and that the top five QB prospects will be off the board by that point.
“I’m watching for the Patriots to add a quarterback via free agency or trade this offseason — maybe Jimmy Garoppolo — and potentially take a close look at the Day 2 options at the position. But with the top five off the board, another need matches up with some great value in the form of Parsons. The Penn State do-it-all linebacker opted out in 2020, but he can make plays in coverage, shoot gaps as a run-stopper, chase down ball carriers, and even get home on the QB as a pass-rusher. I love his game.”
In all honesty, fans should be drooling at the prospect of of the Patriots drafting Parsons, who recorded 109 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks, five passes defended, and four forced fumbles in 2019 before he opted out of 2020 to focus on preparing for the draft.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Parsons game is his coverage ability, as he’s proven capable of locking down both tight ends and receivers. For context, he didn’t surrender a touchdown in coverage in either of his two full seasons with the Nittany Lions.
At 6-foot-3, 250 pounds while boasting a blistering 4.4 40-yard dash time, Parsons quite literally has everything in his locker to excel in the NFL. Deploy him as a hybrid pass rusher and free-roaming LB in Belichick’s defensive system and you literally have a match made in heaven.
Some might say addressing the linebacker position might seem odd to some fans given that Dont’a Hightower is projected to report back to New England after opting out of 2020.
However, given that the likes of Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche were largely utilized as situational pass rushers last season, we’d have zero qualms with the Patriots drafting a linebacker, especially a supposed cant-miss stud in Parsons, in the first round.