The New England Patriots own the No. 21 overall pick in the 2022 draft and it’s anyone’s guess as to what Bill Belichick is planning.
With a sudden need for offensive line help after Ted Karras left in free agency and Shaq Mason got traded, the team could justify drafting Boston College’s Zion Johnson or Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green with their first pick.
The Patriots also haven’t found a replacement for JC Jackson, so one of Derek Stingley, Andrew Booth or Trent McDuffie could be in play.
While fans recognize the need to add a lineman and cornerback, most of Patriots Nation would like to see New England draft a receiver in Round 1.
In ESPN expert Mel Kiper’s latest mock, Alabama speed demon Jameson Williams landed with the Patriots. Such a scenario would be a dream for Mac Jones, as Williams’ deep-ball prowess would add a new dimension to the offense.
Unfortunately for Jones and the Patriots, though, Williams’ progress in his recovery from ACL surgery could push him out of their draft range.
The Patriots might not get the chance to draft Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.
We all remember watching Williams go down in a heap against Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, so it’s awesome to see him ahead of schedule in his recovery. From a Patriots’ perspective, though, we can’t help but wonder if this seals their chances of drafting him.
After all, a whopping five teams ahead of them in the draft order — the Commanders (No. 11 overall), the Texans (No. 13), Ravens (No. 14), Eagles (Nos. 15, 16 and 19), and the Saints (No. 19) — could justify drafting a receiver.
Sheer math suggests Williams will be off the board by the Patriots’ turn, especially if there’s an early run on wideouts. With no clearcut No. 1 prospect in this year’s class, Williams could get drafted before any one of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Drake London and Treylon Burks and nobody would bat an eyelash.
Even worse for the Patriots and their hopes of drafting Williams? The former Crimson Tide star told James Palmer of the NFL Network on Wednesday that he expects to be cleared before the start of training camp in July.
Williams even noted teams haven’t shown much concern about his ACL and ability to make a full recovery during his pre-draft meetings.
The first round of the draft never ceases to surprise, so you can’t rule out Williams falling to the Patriots, but it’s important to remember he was WR1 on most experts’ draft boards before the ACL injury. Only then did the likes of Olave, Wilson, Burks and London get the chance to leapfrog him at the Combine.
With Williams zipping through his rehab and generating a bunch of buzz in the process, the Patriots would be lucky if he’s still on the board by the time they’re on the clock.