The New England Patriots have entered the 2023 offseason earlier than they would have hoped, but at the very least they are in a comfortable position while doing so: the team is among the league leaders in available capital, both from a free agency and a draft perspective.
As far as the draft is concerned, the Patriots are the current owners of the 14th overall pick in the first found as well as seven other selections further down the board. That number, however, is projected to see some growth in the coming weeks: according to a recent analysis published by Over The Cap’s Nick Korte, New England is in line to receive three extra picks through the NFL’s compensatory process.
To break it down in simple terms, the league is compensating teams for losing unrestricted free agents. A total of 32 such extra picks are handed out annually, and a single team can earn up to four additional selections that way depending on several factors ranging from a departed player’s contract length to playing time.
The Patriots lost three qualifying players in 2022, while not picking up any that would cancel out those departures:
As can be seen, New England is expected to pick up one additional draft pick each in the fourth, sixth and seventh round for losing cornerback J.C. Jackson, offensive lineman Ted Karras, and running back Brandon Bolden. Their biggest free agency acquisitions in 2022, meanwhile, did not sign contracts big enough to challenge any of these.
As a result, the Patriots are now projected to hold 11 total picks in the upcoming draft. Using the projection shared by Over The Cap, those would be distributed as follows:
- Round 1: 14th overall
- Round 2: 46th overall
- Round 3: 76th overall (via Carolina)
- Round 4: 107th overall (via Los Angeles)*
- Round 4: 117th overall*
- Round 4: 135th overall (compensatory)*
- Round 6: 184th overall (via Las Vegas)*
- Round 6: 187th overall (via Carolina)*
- Round 6: 192nd overall*
- Round 6: 210th overall (compensatory)*
- Round 7: 259th overall (compensatory)*
With compensatory selections not assigned until after the conclusion of the season, a majority of draft slots remains unofficial for now; at the moment we only know for sure that the Patriots will own picks Nos. 14, 46 and 76. The others will be finalized in the coming weeks, including how many extra picks they will actually get as compensation for their free agency losses.
Regardless of how that process eventually turns out, though, New England will have plenty of capital to address its needs in the coming draft.
The 2023 NFL Draft will take place April 27-29 at Union Station in Kansas City, MO.