Coming off a disappointing season, the New England Patriots have some work to do in this year’s draft to right the ship. The general goal of adding young, talented, and financially manageable prospects to the club is obvious, but Bill Belichick and company also need to find a way to address the biggest needs on the roster.
What are those exactly? While one could point at the quarterback position — and given its importance to the team there would be some merit to it — it seems unlikely New England will invest in a passer early; Mac Jones will get another shot to prove himself.
Instead, the biggest question marks on the team right now appear to be offensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver. And if the latest SB Nation Reacts survey is an indicator, one stands out among them: 65 percent of participants deem tackle as the Patriots’ primary need heading into the draft.
For comparison, wide receiver and cornerback received only 16 and 15 percent of the vote, respectively.
The offensive tackle position was an issue for much of 2022. After starters Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn changed spots in the lineup during the offseason, the Patriots failed to get consistent contributions out of the group.
New left tackle Brown was solid but still not playing up to his 2018 or 2021 levels. Wynn, meanwhile, failed to adapt to the right side and eventually ended the season on injured reserve. His replacements — Yodny Cajuste, Marcus Cannon and finally Conor McDermott — also did not inspire much confidence, leading to the team making some investments after season’s end.
At the moment, the Patriots therefore have six tackles under contract for 2023: Brown, Cajuste and McDermott, as well as Andrew Stueber and free agency acquisitions Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson. One or more players being added through draft and rookie free agency would not be a surprise.
The topic of the Patriots’ biggest needs also was a lively one our Pats Pulpit Debates installment last week. A look at some of the almost 200 comments illustrates this.
Our biggest need is best player available. The roster doesn’t have enough elite talent to just settle on one position.
OT if any of the top three are available and one I think will be. To me it’s a no brainer. Other than that I’m unsure because the corner depth is good so I don’t see trading back in the first and also don’t think another second round wipeout will be on the way. WR receiver…Nah..Not a hope. Hopkins as a long shot after June1st.
This team needs to be better in the passing game on offense to have any legit success so whatever it takes to do that that’s what should be done.
Their D was very good last year and most of it’s returning. Their O was awful. Sure, a lot of it was on the fraud OC. Still, they don’t have a true no. 1 WR. You really can’t contend in today’s NFL without one, so that’s no. 1.
This team needs elite talent on offense (or really anywhere)
Our current QB isn’t going anywhere for next year so I’d like to see WR or TE
After that would be CB and edge rusher
Draft a QB , OT and kicker in later rounds
Lurker von Troll:
Boundary Corner to me is still the top need. If Mills is moving to safety like he said he was after he re-signed, that leaves Jack Jones (last seen in the doghouse) and Jon Jones (a good slot corner but only an average boundary corner) manning the outside. Wade is tall but hasn’t seen the field and was better in the slot in college. He’s the only backup currently on the roster - I don’t think anybody wants to see Myles Bryant trying to cover big receivers.
I’m not saying pick #14 has to be a CB, but they absolutely need a CB in the first 3 rounds, hopefully the first 2 rounds.
LT. You have big Trent for one more year and even if you keep him you should move him up RT, having him and onwenu on the same side will let you run right at will all day long. McCorkle was top five according to pff when the pocket is clean, so give him better protection.
You need one more wr, early round.
One boundary corner that’s taller than 6’.
They’ll never draft an athletic lb, so don’t even bother.
Late round situational edge rusher to replace uche.
LT, WR, CB, ILB are the top four needs. We’ve known this for a few months. What we don’t need is another year of stupidity in the coaching decisions.
MD Pats Fan:
CB, T, and WR
I say Corner. You need to be able to stop the other offense. A number 1 Cornerback will allow you to take a step in that direction.
MJ needs someone to pass to who is open i.e. a talented WR.
He also needs time (as a pocket passer) to pass before being hurried or flattened i.e. a talented OL.
So IMO the first two picks need to be WR and OT in either order.
Victor Kermit Kiam’s Close Shave:
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