The New England Patriots dominated the regular season but came up short in the Super Bowl, showing that they still have a few chinks in their armor they need to strengthen to continue to dominate the AFC. With two first-round picks following a trade with the Rams, the Patriots are hoping to land two impact players to address those needs - or will trade up to draft a major impact player. Here are three positions of need for the Patriots in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
New England's secondary did not live up to the expectations set at the beginning of the season when the team signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Last year, the Patriots allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the league with 366 per game. Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung both turn 31 in August, so drafting a safety early would be smart.
Tom Brady is 41 years old and will no longer be the man under center for the Patriots at some point. New England traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Fransisco 49ers and Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts last season, stripping them of any depth. In essence, New England went from having two solid backups to having an old veteran in Brian Hoyer.
Drafting a young and talented quarterback that can learn from Brady will benefit this team down the road and could be why they acquired another first-round pick. If they trade up, it will be to draft a signal-caller.
The Patriots must find a starter opposite Stephon Gilmore after the Malcolm Butler fiasco. Trading for Jason McCourty gives them needed depth at the position, but he'll be 31 years old at the start of next season and isn't a viable long-term option. The cornerback class in this year's draft is very balanced with a ton of depth, which means solid options will be available to the Patriots at the end of round one.
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