FOXBORO (CBS) -- The New England Patriots had a pretty good draft in 2021, with Bill Belichick and company hitting big on three of their top four selections. Team owner Robert Kraft has said in no uncertain terms that such a trend must continue for the Patriots to regain their former glory.
The Patriots had a pretty lengthy rough patch when it came to the NFL Draft, with a lot more early round misses (including N'Keal Harry, Cyrus Jones and Duke Dawson) than hits from 2015-2020. The impact of their inability to build through the draft during that five-year stretch was somewhat mitigated thanks to the guy they had at quarterback, but now it has the Patriots in the precarious position with little homegrown depth in key spots up and down the roster.
Landing a potential franchise QB in Mac Jones, a stout defensive lineman in Christian Barmore and a solid running back in Rhamondre Stevenson in 2021 was a good start, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The Patriots simply cannot afford to miss when their time comes to pick on the first two days of the draft going forward.
As Kraft said recently at the NFL league meetings, spending sprees like the one the Patriots had in the 2021 offseason are not the way to build a perennial contender. That has to be done over the three-day stretch in late April and early May.
Here is what the Patriots will be working with when April 28 comes around:
1st Round -- 21st overall (assigned)
2nd Round -- 54th overall (assigned)
3rd Round -- 85th overall (assigned)
4th Round -- 127th overall (assigned)
5th Round -- 158th overall (from Dolphins in DeVante Parker trade)
6th Round -- 183rd overall (from Texans)
6th Round -- 200th overall (assigned)
6th Round -- 210th overall (from L.A. Rams via Sony Michel trade)
7th Round -- 245th overall (from Texans)
New England does not have their own fifth round pick, which was sent to Las Vegas as part of the Trent Brown trade last season, but have a pair of other fifth rounders from other trades.
The Patriots had a pair of seventh-round picks, but those were sent to the Ravens (Shaun Wade trade) and the Chiefs (Yasir Durant trade). In a draft week trade, the Patriots acquired sixth and seventh-round picks rom the Houston Texans in exchange for the fifth-round selection they received from Tampa Bay in the Shaq Mason trade.
The Patriots have several areas of need this draft season, with wide receiver, cornerback and linebacker at the top of that list. Given the team's somewhat timid approach to free agency this offseason, expect those needs to be address come draft time.
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