After releasing Riley Reiff this offseason, the Minnesota Vikings replaced the hole in their line with the lineman from USC. With Ezra Cleveland drafted in the second round last year, this gives the Vikings options when it comes to guard and tackle. Vera-Tucker and Cleveland will almost certainly compete for the open tackle spot right away. Minnesota will hope this pick can turn the line around after Kirk Cousins faced pressure on nearly 40% of his dropbacks last season.
If the New England Patriots stay put at 15, you have to imagine they’d like the way this board has fallen. They could start the franchise’s next chapter by drafting either Mac Jones or Trey Lance. If they think Cam Newton still has something left in the tank, it’s possible they could use this pick on one of the remaining elite cornerbacks. With J.C. Jackson recently expressing frustration over his contract, and Stephon Gilmore trade rumors abound, New England could opt to groom a new talent at CB and address QB down the line. After a massive spending spree in free agency, it’s clear Bill Belichick has no desire to rebuild after 20 years of contending. Before we run down their options, let’s check out the previous picks.
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
- New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
- San Francisco 49ers - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
- Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
- Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
- Miami Dolphins - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
- Detroit Lions - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
- Carolina Panthers - Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
- Denver Broncos - Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
- Dallas Cowboys - Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
- New York Giants - Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
- Philadelphia Eagles - Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
- Los Angeles Chargers - Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
- Minnesota Vikings - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
What are the Patriots’ options at 15?
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
For the second time in the last half-decade, the Bison will have a first-round pick at quarterback. Lance leaves for the Draft as a redshirt sophomore and with just one season as a starter under his belt. He’s big (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and fast (no official 40 time, but estimated in the 4.5s) and he’s as much of a threat with his legs as with his arm. He might need time to acclimate to the NFL, but all the physical tools you could ask for are there.
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
After getting some spot duty as a redshirt sophomore in 2019 with Tua Tagovailoa missing time, Jones took over as the Crimson Tide’s starter this fall and led the team to a national title. Throwing to a tremendous receiver group that included Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith and likely first-round pick Jaylen Waddle, Jones lit up the stat sheet with over 77% completions, 4500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and just four picks. Concerns about his mobility and ability to throw on the move will be his biggest roadblock to being drafted highly, however. Jones might have been the top pick in the draft 15 or 20 years ago, but with mobility becoming more and more important for NFL quarterbacks, that will likely hold him back significantly.
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Another son of a former NFL player, Jaycee’s dad, Joe Horn, was a 4-time Pro Bowl receiver for the Saints. Jaycee is another big (6-foot-1, 205), physical corner who faced a murderer’s row of receivers during his three years in the SEC. Horn can be a bit aggressive with his hands, but he posted the best RAS of any corner in this year’s class (9.99, though he skipped agility drills). Expect him to be off the board early as his instincts and athleticism will have teams excited about him.
With the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots select…
Who will the Patriots select with the 15th pick?
This poll is closed
Can Mac Jones or Trey Lance step into the spotlight and replace Tom Brady in New England? Maybe the Pats decide they can win now with Cam Newton, and strengthen their defensive backfield in the event of a Stephon Gilmore trade. No matter what happens, the Patriots will look like a radically different team with their new additions. Make sure to vote here and on Twitter @acmepackingco. And check back at 4 PM EST, when the Arizona Cardinals will be on the clock.