5 Things to Know About the Patriots Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft
Thursday, April 26, 2018
From significant players leaving in free agency to players skipping offseason workouts, New England’s 2018 draft is shaping up to be a critical one.
“There have been a few changes to the roster on and off. That’s pretty common; I mean, it’s going on throughout the league. I’m sure there will be more of it over the course of the next four months, and we’ll continue to do whatever we can to try to help and improve the football team in whatever way that is. You know, it’s an exciting time of year, really. You know, we had free agency. I’d say there’s a little bit of a lull in that, although it hasn’t ended,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during his pre-draft press conference on Friday, April 13 at Gillette Stadium.
The 2018 NFL Draft is set for Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.
Patriots Off-Season So Far
After losing the Super Bowl to the Eagles, the Patriots saw key offensive players such as Nate Solder, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis leave via free agency, while New England traded away Brandin Cooks and tight end Martellus Bennett.
To replace them, the Patriots signed wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson, as well as, running back Jeremy Hill.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots lost cornerback Malcolm Butler to free agency and released linebacker Shea McClellin.
New England has signed defensive end Adrian Clayborn, defensive lineman Danny Shelton and defensive back Jason McCourty to strengthen the defense.
So what does all this mean for the Patriots and their 2018 NFL Draft?
See everything you need to know in the slides below
Related Slideshow: 5 Things to Know About the Patriots Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft
Where are the Patriots Drafting?
- Round 1, Pick 23 (23rd overall) - From Los Angeles Rams
- Round 1, Pick 31 (31st overall)
- Round 2, Pick 11 (43rd overall) - From San Francisco
- Round 2, Pick 31 (63rd overall)
- Round 3, Pick 31 (95th overall)
- Round 6, Pick 24 (198th overall) - From Los Angeles Rams
- Round 6, Pick 36 (210th overall) - From Oakland
- Round 7, Pick 1 (219th overall) - From Cleveland
Gronkowski to Return
New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski announced earlier this week via an Instagram post that he would be returning to the Patriots in 2018.
"I met with coach today, and informed him I will be back for the 2018 season with the Pats. I have been working out, staying in shape and feel great. Looking forward to another championship run," Gronkowski wrote.
Prior to that, it was unclear if Gronkowski would return.
Gronkowski missed the Patriots offseason workout program last week and ESPN"s Adam Schefter reported that Gronkowski was still deciding if he wanted to play.
This was followed by a bizarre press conference at Gillette Stadium where Gronkowski was there representing Monster Energy during a motor cross event.
When asked if he was going to play for the Patriots in 2018, he said “My status is doing really great. I’ve been riding dirt bikes. I’ve been training really hard. I can vroom vroom really good. I can ride that bike like no other."
As the Boston Herald reported earlier this month, Gronkowski is in the midst of a rift with head coach Bill Belichick over Belichick took issue with Gronkowski going to see Tom Brady's personal trainer Alex Guerrero.
Gronkowski in 2017
In 2017, Gronkowski hauled in 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games played.
In the playoffs, Gronkowski caught 16 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns to help the Patriots reach their third Super Bowl in four years.
In 2018, Gronkowski will have a base salary of $8,000,000, a roster bonus of $656,250 and a workout bonus of $250,000, while carrying a cap hit of $10,906,250 and a dead cap value of $4,000,000.
Who is Gone?
This offseason has seen a bit of a mass exodus from New England.
It started in mid-March when wide receiver Danny Amendola announced that he was leaving New England to sign a two-year deal worth $12 million with $8.25 million in guarantees with the Miami Dolphins.
On the same day Amendola left, Malcolm Butler signed a 5-Year Deal Worth $61 Million with the Tennessee Titans.
His departure comes as no surprise after he was benched for the Patriots Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.
Running back Dion Lewis would join Butler in Tennessee on a four-year deal.
Arguably the biggest loss of the Patriots offseason is the departure of left tackle Nate Solder.
Solder signed a four-year deal worth $62 million, with $35 million guaranteed with the New York Giants. The deal made Solder the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Most recently, the Patriots traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the LA Rams for the #23 overall draft pick.
Who is Coming in?
This offseason the Patriots have brought in eight new players by either trade or free agency.
The Patriots acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson from the Oakland Raiders.
Last season in Oakland, Patterson played in all 16 games with two starts and caught 31 passes for 309 yards, had 13 rushing attempts for 121 yards and two touchdowns and returned 19 kicks for 538 yards.
In mid-March, the Patriots acquired Devin McCourty’s brother, Jason, from the Cleveland Browns. McCourty will add depth to the secondary, who will look to replace Malcolm Butler.
The last player that the Patriots acquired via trade is defensive lineman Danny Shelton.
Last season, Shelton started all 14 games that he played in and finished with 33 total tackles.
In his career, he has played in 46 NFL games and has 128 total tackles, but only 1 1/2 sacks.
Last season with Atlanta, Clayborn played in all 16 games with two starts and finished with a career-high 9½ sacks.
New England also added running back Jeremy Hill to help fill the void left by Dion Lewis.
Last season, Hill started the first seven games of the season and had 37 carries for 116 yards before finishing the season on injured reserve.
1st Round Projections
Round 1, Pick 23: Offensive Tackle Kolton Miller, UCLA
Round 1, Pick 31: Cornerback Josh Jackson, Iowa
Round 1, Pick 23: Offensive Tackle Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Round 1, Pick 31: Linebacker Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Round 1, Pick 23: Offensive Tackle Kolton Miller, UCLA
Round 1, Pick 31: Quarterback Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
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