After making several moves during the free agency period to fill the void left by some players who signed elsewhere, the New England Patriots will now address their other urgent needs through the 2018 Nfl Draft. The Patriots lost one of their biggest players, offensive tackle Nate Solder, to free agency as he signed a massive four-year deal worth $62 million with the New York Giants. Solder’s departure left a massive void in the Patriots’ offensive line as he protected quarterback Tom Brady’s blindside since 2012. Also, the Patriots lost running back Dion Lewis, cornerback Malcolm Butler and wide receiver Danny Amendola.

Lewis and Butler signed long-term deals with the Tennessee Titans while Amendola joined the Miami Dolphins. Aside from Solder, free agent offensive tackle Cameron Fleming left the Patriots and signed with the Dallas Cowboys.

In return, the Patriots made some moves in the free agency period, acquiring cornerback Jason McCourty and defensive tackle Danny Shelton via trade with the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots also got wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson from the Oakland Raiders for a fifth-round pick. The Patriots also signed offensive tackle Mike Tobin, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, and running back Jeremy Hill from the free agent market and retained offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle via a one-year deal.

Patriots expected to take offensive tackle in first round

Tobin and Waddle are expected to fill the void left by Solder, but many draft experts see the Patriots taking an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Patriots own the No. 31 pick in the first round and 43rd and 63rd selections in the second round.

Per and, prominent draft experts expect the Patriots to take UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller. Among them are Don Banks of, Chad Reuter and Charles Davis of NFL Media, Pete Prisco and Charlie White of CBS Sports and Albert Breer of MMQB. NFL Media's Bucky Brooks placed his bet on Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams as the Patriots’ first-round pick.

Other draft experts’ predictions

Mel Kiper of ESPN has cornerback Mike Hugh of UCF as the Patriots’ first-round pick, Lance Zierlein of NFL Media expects the Patriots to take Stanford safety Justin Reid, and Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football has Ohio State outside linebacker Jerome Baker as New England’s pick. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports picked UCF cornerback Mike Hughes while Rob Rang of NFL Draft Court has Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson as the Patriots’ first-round selection. Aside from an offensive tackle, the Patriots are also expected to take a tight end, running back, and a quarterback at some point in the 2018 NFL Draft.