Patriots

Previewing the 2022 NFL Combine and which prospects the Patriots could target

Utah's Devin Lloyd is just one of several prospects the Patriots will have their eye on at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

Devin Lloyd Patriots
Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, a potential target for the Patriots in the first round of the draft, will test at the NFL Combine this week. (AP Photo/George Frey)
Recent Links

This week, scores of college football’s top prospects will once again show teams what they’ve got at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and the Patriots, as usual, will get an up-close look at a few future members of their squad.

The combine returns after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled last year’s event, forcing teams and prospects to rely on pro day workouts for measurements and testing. Of course, the pandemic isn’t yet over at this point in 2022, meaning there will be some precautions taken at this year’s combine that weren’t there before. (After a potential boycott, however, there won’t be an NFL-style “bubble” for prospects.)

Advertisement:

Workout schedules will also be more compressed than in years past, with position groups doing measurements, testing exercises, and on-field workouts all in the same day.

One thing that probably won’t change, though: don’t expect to see Bill Belichick or anyone from the Patriots doing many press appearances even as representatives from other teams talk to the media on Tuesday and Wednesday. Belichick typically stays away from the media during the combine, aside from the occasional cameo in the NFL Network booth.

On-field workouts will begin on Thursday, with quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers taking the field first and defensive backs finishing things up on Sunday.

Fortunately, the Patriots don’t have to worry about the quarterback position this time around with Mac Jones well rewarding their investment with the No. 15 overall pick last draft.

Having quarterback figured out leaves New England able to focus on upgrading other key positions with dynamic young talent. Most mock drafts suggest Bill Belichick could (and should) target receiver, cornerback and linebacker with early picks in the draft.

In particular, a deep wide receiver class could give the team difference-making options both at the No. 21 overall pick and on Day 2. Previously unattainable Alabama wideouts like Jameson Williams and John Metchie might fall to New England’s pick because of knee injuries suffered during the season, while Ohio State’s Chris Olave could be a borderline can’t-miss pick if he fell to No. 21. The status of Williams’s and Metchie’s medicals at the combine, along with how Olave tests, could determine whether they’ll be available for New England in the first round.

Advertisement:

Also, the uncertain future at linebacker across the board has drawn a lot of eyes toward the likes of Devin Lloyd, Christian Harris, and Chad Muma as possible Patriots. Lloyd might be the best all-around linebacker in the draft, but some mock drafts have hinted he could be had at No. 21 — unless he blows teams out of the water with his testing this week.

But the apparent radio silence coming from the Patriots in regards to J.C. Jackson might make cornerback the most intriguing position to watch. If New England elected to let Jackson walk instead of either tagging him or extending him, it would create a massive hole at cornerback a veteran free-agent signing almost certainly couldn’t fill completely. But even if Jackson did stay for a year in the tag, the Patriots almost have to prepare for life without him by drafting a corner early.

Draftniks have predicted players like Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr., Florida’s Kaiir Elam and Washington’s Kyler Gordon could be solid options for the Patriots in the early rounds.

Media Schedule

Tuesday, March 1: NFL head coaches and executives

Wednesday, March 2: NFL head coaches and executives; Quarterbacks, tight ends, wide receivers

Thursday, March 3: Offensive linemen, running backs

Advertisement:

Friday, March 4: Defensive linemen, linebackers

Saturday, March 5: Defensive backs

Workout Schedule

Thursday, March 3: Quarterbacks, tight ends, wide receivers

Friday, March 4: Offensive linemen, running backs

Saturday, March 5: Defensive linemen, linebackers

Sunday, March 6: Defensive backs

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com