Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones Is set to enter the 2023 NFL draft.
The Patriots had a disappointing 2022-2023 year––earning just an 8-9 record and only averaging 21 points per game this season. Team owner Robert Kraft was also disappointed, promising season ticket holders that he will make “critical evaluations of all elements of [their] football operation.” These evaluations will no doubt begin with a strong draft. Bolstering the offensive line and receiving corps are most needed along with acquiring a lockdown cornerback. Here are my predictions of what the Patriots will do with their 11 picks in the 2023 drafts.
Round 1 Pick 14: Broderick Jones, Offensive Tackle Georgia
I have the Patriots selecting Jones as 14th overall. Offensive Tackle is a huge need for the Patriots. Isaiah Wynn is a free agent and Trent Brown allowed eight sacks this season. With Wynn’s opening, Jones at 6’4” and 310 pounds, who comes from a team that only gave up nine sacks the entire season, will help fill that weakness.
Round 2 Pick 46: Michael Mayer, Tight End Notre Dame
The Patriots have been looking for Rob Gronkowski’s replacement since he left in 2019. And with the Patriots bringing in Bill O'Brien, the same offensive coordinator who coached the Patriots' famous dual tight end offense in 2013, there is no doubt the Patriots select Mayer. Mayer can pass, catch and block, tallying 67 receptions for 809 yards and nine touchdowns.
Round 3 Pick 76 (Via Carolina Panthers): Kelee Ringo, Cornerback Georgia
After the departures of Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson, the Patriots have lacked a true CB1. With Jonathan Jones being a free agent, the Patriots need to find a long-term corner in the draft. Ringo is tall at 6’2” and played an outside corner role at Georgia.
Round 4 Pick 107 (Via LA Rams): A.T. Perry, Wide Receiver Wake Forest
The Patriots will take another pass catcher in Perry at pick 107. Perry is an incredibly tall receiver at 6’5”, but is on the smaller side at 205 pounds. Perry amassed 81 receptions for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022.
Round 4 Pick 117: Zach Harrison, Edge Rusher Ohio State
The Patriots are bound to select an edge rusher to pair with Matthew Judon and Josh Uche. Harrison is a 6’6” edge rusher whose biggest strength is his length. Although Harrison might not make an impact immediately, his potential with defensive-minded head coach Belichick is through the roof.
Round 4 Pick 135 (Projected Compensatory Pick): Durell Nchami, Edge Rusher Maryland
In hopes to double up on edge rushers in the fourth round, the Patriots are sure to select 6’4” 260-pound Nchami. Nchami tallied three sacks and 13 hurries in 13 games at Maryland. Like Harrison, Nchami will not make a significant impact immediately but has the best chance of unlocking his full potential under Belichick.
Round 6 Pick 184 (Via Carolina Panthers): Chamarri Conner, Safety Virginia Tech
The only reason I don’t have the Patriots selecting a safety in earlier rounds is that Jabril Peppers and Devin McCourty may resign. If McCourty retires and Peppers leaves, the Patriots would need a top-tier safety to pair with Kyle Dugger. As for Conner, he is a 6’1” corner who ranks tenth all-time in tackles for Virginia Tech. However, he tallied 13 missed tackles on the season.
Round 6 Pick 187 (Via LV Raiders): Carter Warren, Offensive Tackle Pitt
The Patriots will also double up on Offensive Tackles after selecting Warren. Warren is huge standing at 6’5” and 325 pounds. Carter Warren allowed one sack and three hurries in only four games this season. In 2021, his last fully healthy season, Warren allowed five sacks and 18 hurries through 14 games.
Round 6 Pick 192: Kenny McIntosh, Running Back Georgia
In past years, the Patriots have tended to take running backs in the late rounds. With Damien Harris being a free agent next year, there is no doubt they will continue this trend into the 2023 draft. McIntosh totaled 824 rushing yards and 509 receiving yards while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. McIntosh has great hands and could play the role of a pass-catching back, a role almost non-existent on the Patriots since Ty Montgomery’s injury.
Round 6 Pick 210: Mohamoud Diabate, Linebacker Utah
Some may argue that a linebacker should be drafted earlier in the draft, but I am inclined to disagree. I believe Uche and Ja’Whaun Bentley are good enough to not justify taking a linebacker in the first five rounds. As for Diabate, he is just what the Patriots are looking for, as Diabate played in the box throughout his college career and ran an unofficial 40 time of 4.59. Diabate tallied seven sacks and 15 hurries last season.
Round 7 Pick 258 (Projected Compensatory Pick): Taron Vincent, Defensive Line Ohio State
Vincent tallied one sack in his 2022 season at Ohio State. He may never get minutes with the Patriots, but hopefully can develop under Bill Belichick and learn from veteran Defensive Lineman, Lawrence Guy.