With the 2020 draft looming, there’s no shortage of opinions as to what the Patriots will do when it comes to the No. 23 overall pick. While history tells us there’s a great chance they’ll trade out of that spot, here’s what some national draft pundits think New England could do if it ends up staying at 23.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Edge A.J. Epenesa, Iowa. It’s easy to draw a line between the Patriots and Hawkeyes – Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz worked with Bill Belichick before, and offensive lineman James Ferentz is one of several ex-Iowa players who have suited up for New England in recent years. As for Epenesa, he’s a 6-foot-5-inch, 275-pound terror off the edge. Last year, he was a second-team AP All-American and first team All-Conference, finishing with 49 tackles, 14.5 for loss, and 11.5 and four forced fumbles.
Mel Kiper, ESPN: QB Jordan Love, Utah State. This is interesting. Among national draft pundits, the feeling seems to be that if the Patriots do stay at 23 and are interested in a quarterback, Love is their guy. He stands 6-foot-4, weighs 224 pounds, and has all the physical tools, including a big arm and good wheels. However, a dynamite 2018 (32 TD passes, 3,567 passing yards, six interceptions) gave way to an inconsistent 2019 (20 TD passes, a whopping 17 interceptions). Toss in the fact that he was cited for marijuana possession in December (the case was dismissed), and you can understand why some people have called him the most polarizing prospect in the draft.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: S Xavier McKinney, Alabama. It would be easy to draw a line between McKinney and the Patriots. The 6-foot, 201-pounder played for Friend of Bill Nick Saban, New England needs to get younger at safety, and the first-team All-SEC defensive back certainly has the resume to suggest he could thrive with the Patriots (13 starts last year, 95 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles). But could he overcome his “awkward” interview with the Patriots at the combine? We shall see.