Mel Kiper Jr. has Patriots taking big-name playmaker at No. 21 overall in first mock draft

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With the Patriots' season coming to an end last weekend in the Wild Card round, their focus is now on the offseason and building the team for 2022 and the future.

Part of that team building is the NFL Draft where the Patriots will pick No. 21 overall.

Who could they select with that pick? Well, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has them grabbing a pretty big name at a position of need in his first mock draft of the season: Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.

“Unfortunately Jameson Williams was injured in [the National Championship] with the ACL,” Kiper said on First Draft with Field Yates. “He was well on his way to being a guaranteed top-10 pick. He was sixth overall on my big board. I think Todd (McShay), when we talked last week, said he was No. 6 on his big board as well. Now, it's gonna be interesting with Jameson, where do you put him? OK, do you put him in the second round or do you put him in the first round? The New England Patriots? You know the Bill Belichick, Nick Saban connection, right? It was pretty obvious against the Buffalo Bills, they needed weapons in the passing game for Mac Jones. You got Jameson Williams if he drops all the way down to where New England's picking at the 21st pick now in Round 1. OK, you got a guy who would have gone in the top 10. Maybe even top five, six or seven. (Now), he's there at 21. Can you wait it out for Jameson Williams to get back to 100%? I think you have to think about that at that point. So I really think Jameson Williams is in play and I think if he plays and finishes that game against the Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama may win that national title.”

Williams spent the first two years of his college career at Ohio State, playing in just 10 total games, before last year with the Crimson Tide. In 15 games at Alabama he finished with 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns.