New England Patriots 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Nakobe Dean and Derion Kendrick join the defense

After falling short of the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season, the New England Patriots reload in this 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

“We’re on to the NFL Draft” – Bill Belichick. While these words were never uttered by New England’s head coach following defeat on Wild Card Weekend, you can imagine his attention almost immediately turning to the NFL’s annual selection event. With multiple areas needing to be addressed, could this Patriots 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft return New England to greatness?

New England Patriots 7-Round NFL Mock Draft

For the purposes of this Patriots 2022 NFL Mock Draft, we’ve allowed PFN’s free Mock Draft Simulator with trades (equipped with the latest NFL Draft order) to work its magic on the selections. They’re based on the projected needs for the Patriots in the 2022 NFL Draft, where they’ve currently only got six picks. Let’s break down how this haul improves New England’s future fortunes.

Round 1, Pick 21: Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

While the Patriots’ biggest needs might appear to be on offense, the successful statistics on defense hide a multitude of sins. New England allowed the second-fewest points per game this year. Additionally, they allowed the fourth-fewest total yards in the NFL. The defense, on their day, allowed the Mac Jones-led offense to methodically produce wins.

Yet, they were also exposed on multiple occasions, particularly on the ground. They allowed the 10th-most yards per carry to the ground game. The Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, and even the New York Jets all put up 150+ rushing yards on the Patriots this season.

That’s why, if he’s there at pick No. 21 for the Patriots as he is in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft, New England can’t pass up on Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean. Dean’s an intelligent, ferocious, athletic linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range who excels against the run. Dean also proved impactful in coverage and as a pass rusher this season. You want your first-round pick to make an immediate impression, and that’s what Dean will do.

Round 2, Pick 54: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

With Stephon Gilmore gone and J.C. Jackson potentially following suit in free agency, cornerback figures to be one of the biggest needs for the Patriots in April. The acquisition of Jalen Mills and Shaun Wade prior to this season also speaks of the need for depth at the position. It would be a huge surprise if New England doesn’t add to the CB room in April.

The answer to that need in this Patriots 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft is Derion Kendrick. The former Clemson cornerback transferred to Georgia this season and helped deliver a national championship as part of a historic defensive unit.

A former wide receiver, Kendrick possesses exceptional ball skills. He ended the season with 4 interceptions, including 2 in the College Football Playoff win over Michigan.

An excellent athlete who provides sticky coverage, the Georgia cornerback is also willing and able in run support.

Round 3, Pick 85: Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut

Stopping the run starts with getting more physical up front. To achieve this, the Patriots swoop for Connecticut defensive tackle Travis Jones with their third pick in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft. At 6’4″ and 333 pounds, Jones is an imposing run defender who eats double-teams for breakfast. He can also push the pocket with incredible power. Jones also provides versatility, with the ability to play from nose tackle out to 3-tech.

Round 4, Pick 124: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

The offseason acquisitions of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor didn’t move the needle at the WR position. New England needs a focal point of the offense at pass catcher, and it might seem a surprise to wait until Round 4 of this Patriots 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft to snag one.

However, this wide receiver has starting WR1 potential throughout. North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson is exactly that. He’s a size/speed threat who is equally adept at snagging contested catches on the boundary as he is using his speed to take a screen pass 50+ yards. Jones needs a dynamic weapon, and he gets that in Watson.

Round 5, Pick 170: Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M

Although they extended Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger has been impressive this season, the potential departure of Devin McCourty may see New England address the safety position in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Florida A&M’s Markquese Bell is an aggressive, athletic threat against the run who possesses ball-hawking skills as a productive cover safety. He’d represent a bargain for the Patriots at pick No. 170 in this 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

Round 6, Pick 207: D’Vonte Price, RB, Florida International

Despite having Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson on the roster, the Patriots should look to add another running back this April. D’Vonte Price would give them a physical, between-the-tackles rusher who showcases excellent long speed to break off big runs. He’s also an impressive blocker. Although he wasn’t routinely used in the passing game at FIU, Price can also contribute in this regard, as he’ll no doubt demonstrate at the Senior Bowl.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson