Morning Sports Update

Patriots projected to focus on defense in latest mock draft

"I think he'd be a star in coach Bill Belichick's system."

Patriots mock draft
Nakobe Dean during Georgia's Pro Day on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The Bruins defeated the Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime on Monday night. Boston is in Detroit to play the Red Wings tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow, the Celtics will face the Bulls in Chicago at 8 p.m.

And the Red Sox open the 2022 season on Thursday in New York against the Yankees at 1:05 p.m.

In national news, Kansas defeated North Carolina 72-69 after trailing by 15 points at halftime.

The latest mock draft: With the NFL Draft now within site (the first round gets underway on on April 28), mock draft season is in full swing.

Predicting what Bill Belichick will do has been notoriously difficult over the years, but ESPN analyst Todd McShay made his most recent guess in a mock draft on Tuesday.

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According to McShay, the Patriots will take Georgia inside linebacker Nakobe Dean with the 21st pick.

“Dean might not have the measurables that NFL teams seek — he is 5-foot-11 with shorter arms — but his tape might be my favorite in the entire class because of his incredible effort on every play and the way he can impact the run defense, pass defense and pass rush on any given set of downs,” wrote McShay. “I think he’d be a star in coach Bill Belichick’s system.”

In the second round, McShay has New England picking cornerback Kaiir Elam from Florida with the 54th pick.

Elam, who is 6-foot-2 and ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, could help the Patriots deal with the free agent departure of J.C. Jackson.

“Adding another playmaker there in the draft — especially one with Elam’s speed, instincts and physicality — gives New England options.”

More from Boston.com:

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Cubs pitcher Ethan Roberts being told he’s going to make the Opening Day roster: Former Red Sox catcher (now Chicago manager) David Ross broke the news to Roberts, who reacted with understandable emotion.

On this day: In 2004, the Connecticut men’s basketball team — led by future NBA players Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon — won its second national title with an 82-73 win over Georgia Tech.

2004 UConn Boston Globe

Daily highlight: One shining moment.

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