Predicting what Bill Belichick and the Patriots will do in the NFL draft is anything but a science, especially in 2018 when New England is equipped with five picks in the first three rounds.
If New England doesn’t make any trades (far from a guarantee in the Belichick era), a tenuous consensus has begun to take shape among Patriots experts. According to reporters and draft analysts, finding a replacement for left tackle Nate Solder is the most consistent priority.
Since March, when Solder officially signed with the Giants, offensive tackles became a Patriots staple in many mock drafts. In 27 major mock drafts since Solder’s departure, 21 had New England selecting a left tackle.
Among the predictions, many mock drafts highlighted UCLA tackle Kolton Miller, including Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
More on Kolton Miller
Miller is a California native who arrived at UCLA as a four-star recruit in 2014. After red-shirting as a freshman, he began to feature on the Bruins’ offensive line, coinciding with the arrival of quarterback Josh Rosen.
By 2017, Miller was UCLA’s starting left tackle, playing all 13 games. He was named second team All-Conference.
Among draft prognosticators, Miller’s name has been a late riser. Prior to March, he wasn’t in many first round mock drafts, but has subsequently been linked several times to the Patriots. He met with New England at the rookie combine, and also visited Gillette Stadium earlier in April.
NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein described him as having, “athletic ability that is above average for the position and he showed improvement as the  season wore on.”
At 6’9″ tall, Miller is noted as the tallest of the major offensive tackle prospects in the 2018 draft.
Other left tackle possibilities include Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey and Connor Williams of Texas.
Recent mock drafts from ESPN’s Todd McShay and The Ringer’s Danny Kelly project McGlinchey to the Patriots. A detailed breakdown of McGlinchey from Stephen White of SB Nation summarized him as an “impressive blocker with some concerns.”
Williams, projected to the Patriots by NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry and SB Nation’s Dan Kadar, started as the left tackle at Texas as a freshman for 12 games. He’s been described as “the most polarizing offensive line prospect in the 2018 draft class.”