The New England Patriots could go one of a number of different ways in the 2020 NFL Draft, but the latest NFL.com mock has them grabbing EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson.
The New England Patriots could go in one of many different directions at No. 23 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
One of the clear paths to take would be head coach Bill Belichick looking towards landing a long-term replacement to somehow fill the void left by quarterback Tom Brady and usher in a new era in New England. There’s some merit to this, as the team’s current quarterbacking trio includes Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler.
Wide receiver is also a potentially strong route, particularly given the lack of production at the position behind Julian Edelman last season.
Yet it’s just as likely Belichick chooses to reinforce the defense instead, hoping second-year wide receiver N’Keal Harry takes the next leap while trying to make it through one season with Stidham likely starting and a possible “Tank for Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence” campaign in the mix. It’s hard to say.
If defense is the route to be taken, though, NFL.com’s Charley Casserly thinks an outside pass-rusher will be the Pats’ first choice in Round 1.
I doubt New England will spend a second straight first-round pick on a wide receiver. And I don’t see a prospect worth taking here at tight end or center (which remains a potential need because David Andrews is still on the mend after missing all of last season with a blood clots in his lungs). The Pats could use a pass rusher.
Chaisson is a dynamic pass-rusher with more than enough pass-rushing moves to succeed at the NFL level. His 6-foot-3, 254-pound frame allows for some absolute explosiveness off the snap, and he’s fluid moving through tight spaces to get within the pocket.
Simply put, there’s not a lot to dislike about this up-and-coming prospect.
Granted, Chaisson does have a bit of an injury history, which includes a torn ACL in 2018 and had ankle issues at LSU last season. These likely dipped his draft stock a bit, but that’s ultimately a bonus for New England.
The Patriots used a lot of blitzes and stunts last season, which was effective enough. But with linebacker Kyle Van Noy now with the Miami Dolphins coming off a career-high 6.5-sack campaign, it would be wise to find some individual pass-rushers who could negate the need to use blitzes, freeing up extra coverage for a Pats team likely needing to rely much more on its defense this upcoming season than it did last year.
In that regard, going after a player like Chaisson makes a good deal of sense.
The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 23.