2022 Patriots Mock Draft: Belichick Gets McDuffie in First

Photo: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite finishing 10-7, for many teams, a loss in the infancy stages of the playoffs quickly ushers an organization back down to earth and face to face with reality. Despite the New England Patriots’ overall success the past two decades, a blowout loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills last season has presented a long climb up a steep slope to their former glory. Using our Mock Draft Machine, I looked at which prospects the Patriots could, and should target come next week. Here is my seven-round mock, including scheme fit, on each prospect:

Round 1 (No. 21 overall): Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington

After losing J.C. Jackson, the Patriots are in desperate need for youth and talent on the perimeter. Converted safety Jalen Mills and 32-year-old Malcolm Butler are set to start opposite one another and within a division touting the likes of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Stefon Diggs, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore – you can see why I went McDuffie here on Day 1. A tough, uber-physical corner whose game is as refined as any secondary standout in the class, McDuffie’s game is pro-ready now and he should end up having a heck of an impact from the moment he steps onto NFL-branded turf. 

Round 2 (No. 54 overall): Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

A rangy ‘backer who I expect to tally over 100 tackles in his rookie campaign, this could be a home run selection for New England in the second round. While they opted to re-sign Ja’Whaun Bentley, Muma can play all over the second level and should allow the Patriots to get creative in their defensive structure. Muma has a Bill Belichick-type of glow to him, and I would not be surprised if the well-rounded athlete is the pick as a future nucleus player for New England.

Round 3 (No. 85 overall): Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State

More weapons for Mac Jones. Although Alec Pierce (Cincinnati) and Kyle Philips (UCLA) remained options here, give me Shakir, who, at times, looked completely unguardable at the Senior Bowl. Shakir was a top receiver during his time at Boise State and has the ability to work in the slot or on the perimeter. He is also a hoss to bring down despite being just 6-foot and 196 pounds. An extremely intelligent football player whose route-running and body mechanics allow him to create separation in an instant, he should mesh right away with Jones. 

Round 4 (No. 127 overall): Micheal Clemons, EDGE, Texas A&M

At 6-foot-5, 270-plus pounds, Clemons fits what Belichick wants from a frame perspective up front. With defensive linemen Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise in place, I fully expect Clemons to challenge for a healthy amount of snaps and work into a prominent role at 5-tech. New England needs fresh legs to get after division quarterbacks Josh Allen, Zach Wilson and Tua Tagovailoa. Clemons’ stock has seen a nice increase over the last few months. A long, explosive rusher with a surprisingly deep, refined pass rush skill set, he’s a sleeper that could challenge for the most sacks of any rookie this fall. 

Round 5 (No. 158 overall): Dohnovan West, IOL, Arizona State

Given his true positional versatility, I love the fit here with West on Day 3. An upgrade is needed at right guard with James Ferentz, and if it were my guess, West should push, and more than hold his own against the fifth-year talent. West is an athletic interior prospect with powerful hands and the ideal agility to slide and maneuver to stalwart defensive tackles and has the potential to develop into an above average starter by year three.

Round 5 (No. 170 overall): Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State

Back to the Sun Devils pipeline if you will – here in the fifth. A highly touted five-star recruit out of high school, if Jones is able to put it all together, watch out. While his immediate projection comes working over the nickel, he should also prove to be a core special teams player – something we all know Belichick looks for here late in the selection process. Jones’ footwork and ball skills should allow him to make plays on the football from day one as he works alongside the slew of veterans that make up the Patriots’ corners room.

Round 6 (No. 200 overall): Logan Bruss, OT, Wisconsin

A physically imposing tackle, Bruss is a country strong offensive lineman who should thrive in the Patriots’ run-heavy offensive gameplan. With powerful hands that stem from a constantly active lower half, Bruss rarely is out-leveraged at the point of contact and showcased a nice ability to seal the edge and displace defenders in the run game. He projects best at tackle but has shown the versatility to slide inside to guard as well during his time at Wisconsin.

Round 6 (No. 210 overall): Isaiah Pola-Mao, S, USC

A developmental prospect, Pola-Mao has every tool in the bag to become an impact safety at the NFL level. At 6-foot-4, when he gets moving, his game really starts to pop as a ball-hungry defender. He is an outstanding athlete with an elite ball production ceiling and will provide value as both a rotational centerfield athlete and on special teams. 

Written By:

Ryan Fowler

Staff Writer

Feature Writer for The Draft Network. Former Staff Writer for the Washington Football Team. Multiple years of coverage within the NFL and NBA.