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2022 NFL Mock Draft: Patriots pick pass rusher

With the 21st overall pick in the 2022 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Pittsburgh Steelers GM Domonate selects ...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 20 Florida State at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State

The New England Patriots. The Evil Empire. The organization that illegally video tapes it’s opponents, intentionally lies on injury reports, deflates balls, and has an owner who allegedly loves happy endings more than Deshaun Watson allegedly does. The team that has had an almost impossible amount of success in a league designed for parity. The team that has enjoyed the greatest QB/Coach combo in NFL history for two decades, winning 7 Super Bowls in 10 appearances. That’s a Super Bowl appearance every other year for an entire generation.

Once Tom Brady left the Patriots were supposed to become a terrible franchise for the next decade, wallowing in mediocrity to balance the karma of their largely undeserved success. They were supposed to become the Bulls after Jordan left, the Lakers after Shaq and Kobe were gone. They were supposed to suck for the good of the league, but no, if there is a God he has a sick sense of humor.

Soon after Brady left the Patriots lucked into a franchise QB falling in their laps, and Belichick was able to maximize his admittedly limited talent right away and get the Pats back to the playoffs after only one mediocre season (we couldn’t even get one bad year, not one!!). I feel cheated, just like every other non-Pats fan.

But enough of that, to truly get into the spirit of this pick I had to delve into the mind of the Master himself, Bill Belichick. He is both the architect and administrator of this Empire, and they go where he wants them to go. So, I dug deep into the back of my closet and pulled out the oldest, rattiest hoodie I could find and donned it for a day. I adopted a gruff demeanor and was condescending to anyone asking me a question. I reveled in my newfound genius. I started adopting his hobbies, which include boating and kissing my daughter on the mouth. OK, I didn’t do that last one, it’s just way too creepy and inappropriate.

After I got my fill of boats and that other thing, I fell into a deep slumber and the dreams came quickly. First I was arguing with Bill Parcells on the Giants sideline because I am smarter and he is being dumb and stubborn. Then I was telling the Jets to piss off on my way to Boston. I was then lifting the Lombardi with a 6th round QB who I drafted because I’m a genius and you’re not. I did it a few more times after that, oh how glorious I am!

Then it started to turn dark. I saw visions of derpy Manning faces dancing all around me as the Lombardi Trophy slipped away. Oh, those Manning faces, the horror. I then watched some guy in dad pants who looks like he sells insurance run circles around me with his enormously ballsy play calling. A bearded fat man on my sideline looks completely lost as the other team scores at will. I watch as a long Hail Mary pass is smacked away by Nick Foles’ gigantic BD. I wake up in a cold sweat as tears begin to flow down my cheeks…….

OK, time to get to the real purpose of this article, which is who the Patriots will select at pick #21 in this year’s draft. First I decided to take a look at their roster and assess their needs. While they don’t really have many glaring holes, their roster for the most part is fairly “meh” and just about all of their position groups could use an upgrade. I identified their biggest needs as:

Wide Receiver

Linebacker

Cornerback

Offensive Line

I had a list of 6 candidates across these position groups that I would potentially draft, and did some preliminary work on them. None of them would be considered a reach, and all would fit well with the team. One candidate was more of a wishful thinking pick that I didn’t really expect to drop to my pick (they didn’t FYI) but I thought it was a possibility. In other words I was trying to pick someone the Patriots would realistically pick.

That being said, all of my work was tossed out the window when the person who I ended up choosing somehow, inexplicably fell into my lap. That selection is of course

Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State

I’m honestly shocked that Johnson dropped this far. I never thought for an instant a top 10 talent at a highly valued position would be available at this pick. I almost picked someone else, but decided at the last second to run a quick Mock Draft to see who was still available. Much to my surprise there he was so I ran to the podium as fast as I could, almost tripping over one of my many Lombardi trophies. Let’s take a look at the spider graph real quick shall we?

Ahh, now I see why he dropped. With that hand size no wonder so many passed on him, because we all know you can’t have success in the NFL with small hands. Now let’s look at his RAS score, that shows he is an athletic freak whose scores really pop.

The Patriots don’t have a glaring need on the edge but, despite what some people think, I believe you can never have enough good pass rushers, and Johnson is arguably the best in this class. Their basic defensive philosophy is to build through the trenches and be very aggressive and constantly attack the QB. They love to have good run stopping up the middle and fast, versatile defenders along the outside.

Johnson certainly fits the bill as being a fast, versatile, and aggressive pass rusher. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 14 sacks, 18 TFLs, two forced fumbles and two PDs. He lived in the opponent’s backfield and was an absolute terror for them all year long. He can line up as a 5 tech, from the end of the defensive line, or as a stand up rusher and have good success from each. He has great lateral quickness and a fast burst off the line, allowing him to often beat his man around the edge. His overall technique is advanced and should translate well at the next level. He has a high football IQ and almost always takes the best routes to the ball and rarely gets washed out of a play. He shows relentless effort and drive and plays with a high motor (that’s not a bad thing despite what many think).

Where Johnson really made his name was during Senior Bowl week, where he dominated in all phases the entire time. He beat everyone he matched up with in drills handily. He demonstrated proficiency in all pass rushing techniques and showed he can line up anywhere along the line. He even did well in inside drills, which was considered a big weakness for him going into that week. Here is a pretty good breakdown of his Senior Bowl performance.

Here is another good breakdown showing off his overall skill set

Despite his many great traits he does not come without weaknesses, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them. He has struggled against the run in his career and oftentimes over pursues, leaving open holes up the middle that RB’s or QB’s can exploit. He also struggles against OT’s with good technique and lateral quickness that can match his. He matched up against top OT prospect Ikem Ekwonu this season and struggled a bit but ultimately held his own at the end of the day. He is also relatively inexperienced (only started one season) and raw in some areas, but most, including me, believe he can overcome these weaknesses with some coaching and experience.

At the end of the day I am a firm believer that the purpose of the draft is to acquire the best talent, and Jermaine Johnson is by far the best talent available at this point. I considered possibly drafting Trevor Penning or Zion Johnson here to fill needs on the Oline, Burks/Dotson at WR, or Kaiir Elam or Devin LLoyd/Nakobe Dean to fill holes in the defense, but these position groups are all deep this year and good players can be found in later rounds.

Johnson is a freak athlete with elite traits and high football IQ who has a near limitless ceiling, and was a no brainer pick here in my opinion. I wholly believe he will eventually become a top pass rusher and perennial Pro Bowler in the NFL.

Poll

Do you approve of this pick?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Yes
    (228 votes)
  • 26%
    No
    (81 votes)
309 votes total Vote Now

2022 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Jaguars (HellBentOnHurts): DE Aidan Hutchinson
2) Lions (Friendly Neighborhood Philly Fan): DE Travon Walker
3) Texans (herbalonius): OT Evan Neal
4) Jets (RideHighTide): OT Ikem Ekwonu
5) Giants (Brendanekstrom): CB Ahmad Gardner
6) Panthers (Philliesandthebees): QB Kenny Pickett
7) Giants (Dr.MidnightGreen): DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
8) Falcons (Philly21): QB Malik Willis
9) Seahawks (chewy wellington) QB Matt Corral
10) Jets (tfrank9811): S Kyle Hamilton
11) Commanders (Negadelphia Norm): CB Derek Stingley Jr.
12) Vikings (Kephas): CB Trent McDuffie
13) Texans (Bdawk20rules): WR Drake London
14) Ravens (ablesser88): DT Jordan Davis
15) Eagles (Fly Like An Eagle): WR Chris Olave
16) Saints (20Safety_Hazard): OT Charles Cross
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!): DT Devonte Wyatt
18) Eagles (Phoenix X Minimus): CB Andrew Booth Jr.
19) Saints (Georgia_eagle): WR Garrett Wilson
20) Steelers (EagleDomiNation) WR Jameson Williams
21) Patriots (Domonate): DE Jermaine Johnson
22) Packers (Leo Bedio)
23) Cardinals (big DUB)
24) Cowboys (joey2arms)
25) Bills (ItownBallers22)
26) Titans (BrianMcE03)
27) Buccaneers (4133Dave)
28) Packers (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop)
29) Chiefs (GreenGrampa)
30) Chiefs (Legend of Nick Foles)
31) Bengals (Thedeuce9)
32) Lions (Dtechman44)


Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected next in the 2022 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.

Poll

Who should the Patriots draft at No. 21?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    WR Chris Olave
    (53 votes)
  • 11%
    WR Drake London
    (23 votes)
  • 9%
    WR Treylon Burks
    (19 votes)
  • 28%
    LB Nakobe Dean
    (59 votes)
  • 9%
    OL Zion Johnson
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    OL Kenyon Green
    (7 votes)
  • 10%
    CB Andrew Booth Jr.
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    CB Kaiir Elam
    (7 votes)
208 votes total Vote Now

1) Jaguars: DE Aidan Hutchinson
2) Lions: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
3) Texans: OT Evan Neal
4) Jets: OT Ikem Ekwonu
5) Giants: OT Charles Cross
6) Panthers: QB Malik Willis
7) Giants: CB Ahmad Gardner
8) Falcons: QB Kenny Pickett
9) Seahawks: S Kyle Hamilton
10) Jets: DE Travon Walker
11) Commanders: CB Derek Stingley Jr.
12) Vikings: CB Trent McDuffie
13) Texans: DE Jermaine Johnson
14) Ravens: DT Jordan Davis
15) Eagles: WR Jameson Williams
16) Saints: OT Trevor Penning
17) Chargers: DT Devonte Wyatt
18) Eagles: LB Devin Lloyd
19) Saints: WR Garrett Wilson
20) Steelers: QB Matt Corral
21) Patriots: