If the New England Patriots end up picking early, a new franchise quarterback could certainly be an option for the team. An early draft pick likely means that the Newton experiment did not go well and would open up the door for them to swing for the fences for a new quarterback. However, in this 2021 NFL mock draft, the Patriots pick 24th overall. In this scenario, the Newton experiment likely went well, allowing the Pats to go in another direction.
Instead of reaching for a quarterback at No. 24, the Pats add another impact player to their defensive mix when they select USC defensive tackle Jay Tufele.
Tufele is a big and strong defensive lineman who shows impressive natural power at the point of attack. He does a great job of firing off of the ball quickly and immediately getting his hands on the opposing offensive lineman. He can eat up space in the middle of the defense when asked to two-gap, using his size and power well to force attention to himself.
Tufele is an impressive space eater, but there is certainly more to his game than that. He is an explosive one-gap penetrator who shows impressive quickness and agility for a man of his size. Tufele has an explosive first step and strong upfield burst against the run and as an interior pass rusher.
His combination of size, power, quickness and athleticism is incredibly impressive and gives Tufele massive upside at the next level. Tufele is the kind of impact playmaker that the New England Patriots should be looking for in the 2021 NFL Draft.