Inside the Patriots Draft Room: Finding the Final Pieces to Reclaim the Lombardi Trophy

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What can the New England Patriots do to reclaim their dominance?

In an offseason unlike any other for the New England Patriots, the most dominant team in the NFL over the past 20 years must find a way to turn the focus to 2018. From the benching of Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl, to the will they or won’t they retirement dramas from Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, the franchise known for keeping any issues in-house is all of a sudden having their dirty laundry become public.

While the drama out of New England isn’t fully resolved, the return of offensive coordinator (and very likely next head coach of the Patriots) Josh McDaniels has prevented this offseason from completely spiraling out of control. If McDaniels had left for Indianapolis, the non-committals by Brady and Gronkowski may have been taken seriously. With McDaniels back, Brady and Gronkowski will follow suit and the team will turn the page to the 2018 season.

New England Patriots
New England Patriots /

New England Patriots

This is the year New England looks to reclaim what has been theirs five times in the Brady-Belichick era. Coming up just short of another Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots are a puzzle piece or two away from tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins. The return of several key players from injury will help, but finding rookies who can contribute immediately is near the top of the team’s wish list this offseason.

With four picks in the first two rounds and eight picks in total, the Patriots have the draft capital to make a big impact in the 2018 NFL Draft. Trades are nearly certain to happen under Belichick, but where will those trades occur? Will New England select Tom Brady’s successor this year? Will a rookie be the week one starter at left tackle? Who will the Patriots add to a defense that couldn’t slow down a backup quarterback in the Super Bowl?

Those are the questions that need to be answered in the 2018 NFL Draft and these are the prospects who fit the mold of what Belichick looks for at each position. Players are graded based on various factors, with extra weight given to size and athletic testing numbers in which the Patriots draft picks scored above the league average. Those categories are different for each position and are listed on each slide. The percentage listed beside the prospect is how far above average that prospect scored compared to every other player at that position the Patriots have drafted under Belichick.

Last year’s edition nailed every Patriots pick besides Tony Garcia and also hit on several undrafted free agents the team signed. While Bill Belichick may not believe in sideline technology or advanced stats (at least publicly), there is a method to his madness when it comes to the draft. Here’s a look at which prospects eligible for the 2018 NFL Draft are a fit with the New England Patriots.