2020 NFL Draft Nominated Candidate
If I was the Patriots general manager, I would replace Tom Brady with Colin Kaepernick. Yes, I would go there. I lived through coaches Dick MacPherson and Rod Rust. Quarterbacks Hugh Millen and Tommy Hodson. 6-10, 2-14 and 1-15 regular seasons. If the Patriots can avoid sinking that far down, I’m all for it. Kaepernick probably doesn’t keep New England as a championship contender, but he would give the Patriots a fighting chance at winning every week. But that would depend if Kaepernick really is in football shape and ready to play, as he claims to be. If it wasn’t for not playing for the past few seasons, Kaepernick would have a case for being the best available free agent quarterback on the market right now. But he would have to prove that he’s ready to play first. Social distancing makes meeting coaches and team officials and arranging a physical with a third party doctor cumbersome. Is Kaepernick worth all that work? As for the “controversy” surrounding Kaepernick, shouldn’t we be past that by now? It’s not like he can kneel on the sidelines anymore. But Kaepernick signing anywhere, let alone the Patriots, seems unlikely. The Patriots are rebuilding. Jarrett Stidham is expected to be under center for the season opener. And if that happens, Stidham needs some upgrades around him for his best shot at being successful. That’s why four of my five selections are on offense. But the first pick of my dream draft is for a defense that relied on manufacturing a pass rush often from blitzing. That has to change for the defense to be better. For those that don’t know, this isn’t an actual mock draft. This is who I wish would be part of the Patriots 2020 draft class. Here’s who I hope are the Patriots’ first five selections: DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State Maybe Gross-Matos, isn’t a clean fit within the Patriots defense. But the kid has the raw tools to become a real problem on the edge. He’s still growing, but he was a stout run defender and a dangerous pass rusher for Penn State last year. It’s the latter that intrigues me. New England’s defense had to manufacture pressure/sacks via scheme. Gross-Matos has the talent to develop into a one man wrecking crew on every down. A defender that can consistently win his one-on-one matchups would be a huge boost to this defense that lost LBs Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. TE Adam Trautman, Dayton New England messed up big time when they didn’t address the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, and the offense suffered greatly for that. While experts say it’s a weak tight end class this year, Trautman might be the closest to Gronk in the draft. Trautman was a man among boys at Dayton. So the question is whether Trautman can make the transition to tougher competition. OG/C Jonah Jackson, Ohio State Logan Mankins had a mean streak. Joe Thuney has a mean streak. Guess what Jackson has in common with both players? Jackson played all three interior O-line positions, so versatility is part of his appeal. Jackson would be insurance in case the Patriots do trade Thuney or if David Andrews suffers complications from his recovery from blood clots in his lungs. And did I mention Jackson is a Rutgers transfer? WR Antonio Gibson, Memphis If you remember how much fun it was playing “Where’s Cordarrelle Patterson?”, then the coaching staff should have a blast with Gibson. He’s played receiver and running back with the Tigers and returned kickoffs. On top of his versatility, Gibson has the speed to take it to the house. The Patriots offense could really use a legitimate deep threat. TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati One of my favorite Patriots offenses of recent memory was the two tight end unit led by Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It was something the league had never seen like that before. Selecting Deguara would make that kind of offense a possibility in 2020. Deguara is a little undersized, but exhibits good quickness running routes and YAC ability. He can be moved around to create mismatches around the field. He’s a potential weapon that would make a quarterback’s job a lot easier.