Patriots add cornerback in Todd McShay’s latest ESPN mock draft

McShay suggests the Patriots could fall in love with Kyler Gordon, an athletic, hard-nosed corner out of Washington, in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Kyler Gordon NFL Draft Patriots
Todd McShay's latest ESPN mock draft has the Patriots selection Washington CB Kyler Gordon with the 21st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
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The consensus around what draftniks think the Patriots will do when they’re on the clock with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft seems set: either they’re taking a receiver or they’re upgrading their back-seven on defense.

ESPN’s Todd McShay believes they’ll pick the latter route in his latest first-round mock draft, opting to boost the speed and athleticism of a secondary in dire need of depth and future starters.

But rather than grabbing Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. for the Patriots as his ESPN colleague Jordan Reid did, McShay thinks Bill Belichick will go with a more intriguing choice: Kyler Gordon, a 6-foot-tall, 200-pound cornerback out of Washington.


“The Patriots were second in passing yards allowed per game (187.1), tied for second in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.4) and second in interceptions (23)…but the back seven could lose several starters to free agency, including cornerback J.C. Jackson, safety Devin McCourty, and linebacker D’onta Hightower,” McShay points out. “It could also use an influx of speed in that area, of which Gordon has a ton. His versatility and ability to jump routes would also be welcome on one of the league’s top defenses — and he’d make the potential loss of Jackson a little easier to handle.”

Gordon certainly has traits the Patriots covet. For one, he tackles with good fundamentals and physicality for a cornerback, which would show up well both in the regular lineup and in special teams. He even forced two fumbles in his final two years with the Huskies.

Also, don’t underestimate how much versatility could endear him to New England. He has proven he can play well both outside and in the slot, which is what attracted the Patriots to Jalen Mills.

This cornerback prospect projects to be a much better athlete than Mills, though. In fact, his draft profile suggests Gordon, whom one area scout calls a “ridiculous tester,” compares well to Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones, who put on one of the most epic NFL Combine performances in recent memory back in 2015. That could fit well with the Patriots’ hope to get faster and more athletic on defense.


Most importantly: Gordon put those athletic skills to good use, intercepting two passes and knocking down seven more as a redshirt junior.

That said, selecting Gordon with the No. 21 overall pick feels like an overdraft, particularly if the Patriots were to leave Ohio State receiver Chris Olave on the board as McShay has them doing. While passing on Alabama’s Jameson Williams (who could still end up being the best receiver in the class) due to him likely missing all of 2022 as he recovers from a torn ACL could be justified, passing on Olave only to see him get taken by the Las Vegas Raiders with the next pick feels like malpractice. (By the way, McShay has Williams going No. 27 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)

Though McShay suggests the Patriots could look hard at both Olave and Williams depending on how the board falls, his mocking of Gordon to New England is one that blends a position of need with high upside. Gordon’s size, length, speed and tough style of play could make him an integral piece of the Patriots’ secondary within a few seasons.

If the Washington cornerback blows up the NFL Combine the way some suggest he might, watch out: he might firmly be on the Patriots’ radar at No. 21.


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