NFL rumors: Patriots showing pre-draft interest in LSU cornerback

Garner projects as a late-round draft pick.

The New England Patriots are entering the NFL Draft with a need at cornerback, and they have been connected to several prospects at the position. The latest among them is LSU’s Mekhi Garner.

According to a report by KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson, the 23-year-old did not only take a pre-draft visit with the Patriots but also worked out privately with them.

Garner started his college career at Navarro College in 2018 before transferring to Louisiana. He spent three seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns, appearing in 26 games and registering three interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles. He was named third-team All-Sun Belt Conference in 2021, but entered the transfer portal after the season.

Garner joined LSU in 2022, and went on to start 13 games for the Tigers. He finished the year with 43 tackles and eight pass breakups before opting out of the team’s Citrus Bowl game against Purdue.

Instead, Garner turned his attention to preparing for the draft — a process that included participating in the Scouting Combine and the East-West Shrine Bowl, where the Patriots already got a close look at him. While he was not on the West roster the New England coaching staff was working with, but rather the Atlanta Falcons’ East team, they still came in close contact with him then.

It only intensified over the coming weeks, including the aforementioned Top-30 visit and private workout.

Standing at 6-foot-2, 212-pound cornerback, Garner projects as an outside cornerback at the next level. While he tested well at the Combine and the LSU Pro Day — scoring a Relative Athletic Score of 8.98 — his rather average quickness, long speed, and inconsistent ball production in college are all hurting his stock. The belief is that he will not get selected until late on Day 3, if that.

New England’s cornerback group remained mostly intact since last season, but the group might still benefit from an upgrade especially on the outside. At the moment, Jack Jones projects as the top option with Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones and Shaun Wade also among the players factoring into the mix.

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