The New England Patriots built one of the greatest dynasties in football history on the back of solid drafting in all seven rounds of the NFL Draft, year in and year out.
Unfortunately, the last few seasons haven’t been as consistently excellent for Bill Belichick and the front office, as New England has struggled to draft starters, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Belichick has a tough task ahead of him this offseason, as he needs to find a new starting quarterback, beef up a defensive line that is starting to show its age just a bit, and add a new perimeter player who can use his speed to make plays.
Belichick built his dynasty on drafting quality starters outside of the first round. When Rounds 2 and 3 come along, look for New England to plug one of their many holes by drafting one of these three studs.
The New England Patriots should try to add one of these three studs on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
Onwuzurike missed a golden opportunity by opting out of the 2020 season, as he could’ve taken advantage of a weak interior defensive line class to beef up his stock. While Alabama’s Christian Barmore is starting to run away with the title of top interior defensive lineman, Onwuzurike could overtake USC’s Jay Tufele and Ohio State’s Tommy Togiai and become IDL2 in this class. Before his rise becomes too meteoric, New England needs to figure out a plan to draft the versatile defender.
The Senior Bowl was going to be critical to Onwuzurike, and he was among the best performing defensive linemen in Mobile, showing his blend of raw power and explosion off the snap. Belichick expects all of his defensive linemen to play the run well, and Onwuzurike can do just that, mostly due to his ability to get leverage, disengage from blocks, and use his athletic ability to make a tackle in open space. Onwuzurike is a rare second-rounder that Belichick could start right away.
He didn’t have the most productive pass rushing numbers during his time at Washington, but Onwuzurike has the build and physical tools of someone with his best football still several years ahead of him. If Belichick wants to beef up his defense, Onwuzurike could be wearing Patriots colors next season.