After an exciting win in Super Bowl 51 the New England Patriots will be picking at the end of the each round of the 2017 NFL Draft. While the draft is a ways away in late April, it is always interesting to project who each team might select. One of the more mysterious teams when it comes to the draft is the Patriots. It’s hard to know which way Bill Belichick will go when he is on the clock in Philadelphia. We started talking about the first round last week, and the second round here. Now it’s time to move on to round three, which is where things start to get crazy before Day 3 which is pure pandemonium. Let’s get into it.
Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force
Here the Patriots could add to their tradition of looking into players within the military service schools, and he might just be the most talented of all. Jalen Robinette has been a strong presence for the Air Force team, and he impressed so much at the East-West Shrine Game that he was given a late invite to the Senior Bowl. A big-bodied 6-4 and 215 pounds, he has the size that no other Patriots receiver has, and he has the jump ball abilities that would be a new fit for the team. He is also a capable run blocker, which is almost as important as catching passes when it comes to offense. If the Patriots want to go military, they should pick up Robinette here in Round 3.
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
A capable member of the offense since his freshman year, Perine would be a good addition to the stable of backs that Patriots currently have. As a first-year player, he set the FBS record for most rushing yards in a game a week after former first round pick Melvin Gordon did it. He posted an astonishing 427 yards against the Kansas Jayhawks, also picking up 5 touchdowns. He has been a solid and dependable piece for the Sooners, especially in the pass blocking game. His variety of traits and the ability to be good at plenty of things makes him a smart choice for the Patriots’ offense.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB/S, Tennessee
A player with an undefined position, if the Patriots aren’t interested in spending an earlier pick on Haason Reddick, they should look to Reeves-Maybin. While they are not similar players in college, they project to a somewhat similar role where they play on coverage downs in the middle, and move around in pass-rushing situations. While he’s small for the linebacker position, he is an ideal spot for either a Patrick Chung or Jamie Collins-type role where he can cover running backs and linebackers, as well as rush the passer at times. While attacking the quarterback is not exactly a strong suit for him, he can get at it if he needs to. One of his best traits is his ability to rocket at ball carriers, although it can cause him to miss at times when he miscalculates his angle. That can be fixed under Matt Patricia. It would be an interesting fit for the former Volunteer, and it is possible that Jalen Reeves-Maybin could be the first Tennessee player to be selected by Bill Belichick since Jerod Mayo.
Corn Elder, CB, Miami (FL)
Another physical corner like Chidobe Awuzie in Round 2, Corn Elder (another 10/10 name) has been one of the better defenders on the Hurricanes’ defense. His ability to attack, as shown above, is an ideal ability to have, and his coverage ability shows the same aggression when necessary. Elder is a good prospect that showed up with a decent week at the Senior Bowl. While he may be a tad undersized at 5-10, he’s a great option for a slot corner role, which may be up in the air due to some uncertainty in free agency limbo. If the team loses Logan Ryan, Elder would be a solid addition to the team.
Jarron Jones, DL, Notre Dame
When you watch Jarron Jones, he looks more like the 280 pound Dominique Easley than he looks like 310+ pound linemen like Malcom Brown. His ability to penetrate offensive lines is unmatched by current Notre Dame Players, and he is able to disrupt both the run and the pass game for teams. While he is great at breaking through the line, teams may look for more linemen to play the “gap plugging” role than a penetrating role, where they hold the line and cut off avenues for running backs to squeeze through. Jones can handle double teams in a gap plugging manner, but will not be able to do what he normally does there. While he’s not a complete prospect, Jarron Jones would be a solid option in Round 3, and a good depth addition to a team that could use a piece like him.