The New England Patriots are in an interesting position heading into the 2023 draft.
They have a good amount of talent on the team, but they also have needs across the board. They are going to need at least one offensive tackle for next season and could probably use an upgrade this season as well. They would benefit from a top flight receiver, and they could really use an outside cornerback
On one hand, they have enough depth that they don’t necessarily have to reach for a specific position in order to field a competent team. On the other hand, however, they are lacking top-end talent in many positions. This, among a bunch of other factors that we’re not going to discuss today, makes this a make-or-break draft of sorts.
All of that had to be kept in mind when Pats Pulpit was on the clock in the SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft. So, what did we do?
Patriots pick at No. 14: OT Broderick Jones (Georgia)
I was faced with a tough decision of what to do at pick No. 14. My top prospects at cornerback (Christian Gonzalez), wide receiver (Jaxon Smith-Njigba), and offensive tackle (Paris Johnson) were all off the board already.
If any of them had been on the board, it would’ve been a no-brainer selection, but that wasn’t the case. With a trade down also not materializing, we went in a different direction.
Why is Broderick Jones the newest Patriot? Because he provides the biggest upside at the biggest position of need. To have a guy with the athleticism and power of Jones, plus the upside of having limited time starting in college, makes this the best pick for the Patriots.
Bill Belichick typically goes for experienced players, especially early in the draft, but Jones is a unique case. He does bring some experience with him — on a two-time National Championship team in college football’s best conference — while also being young and raw enough to be molded into an even better pro.
Bringing in new O-line coach Adrian Klemm will help significantly here, because he is a solid offensive line coach who can teach Jones the right way to play. When you’re selecting in the top 15, you want to take players who have the highest upside possible. Again, Jones has shown enough on tape that you can feel good about him being able to come in and play right away.
You can also see the potential of him ascending to one of the better tackles in the league, and a long-term solution at left tackle the team has lacked for some time now.
NFL analyst Bucky Brooks has the #Patriots taking OT Broderick Jones from Georgia in his latest mock draft:— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) March 29, 2023
“Adding this physical blocker would complete the Patriots' offensive makeover with an upgrade on the edges.”pic.twitter.com/XrdcwjXjjO
According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, Jones has +20000 odds to be the second player off the board in Round 1. He’s got +10000 odds to be selected at No. 3 or No. 4, and +6000 to be taken with the fifth overall pick.
Best Players Remaining:
- CB Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
- WR Zay Flowers (Boston College)
- WR Quinton Johnston (TCU)
- OT Darnell Wright (Tennessee)