The New England Patriots have made their third selection of the 2023 NFL Draft. With the 76th overall pick in the third round, they have added Sacramento State’s Marte Mapu.
Standing at 6-foot-3, 221 pounds with solid athleticism and intriguing positional versatility, Mapu projects as a linebacker/safety hybrid. The team did announce him as a linebacker.
Including his redshirt freshman campaign in 2017 and the cancelled 2020 season, Mapu spent six years at Sacramento. He began primarily as a role player but took on a starting role on this side of the Covid-19 watershed.
Over the past two seasons, he started 25 games and registered a combined 141 tackles, six interceptions, 20 pass breakups as well as one fumble and sack each. His contributions extended beyond the defensive side of the ball; a core special teamer for the Hornets, he also blocked a field goal attempt in 2022.
His contributions earned him All-Big Sky selections in 2021 (second team) and 2022 (first team), and he was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a six-year senior. He later was invited to the Senior Bowl, and had a pre-draft visit with the Patriots.
Unless they are trading up back into the third round, the Patriots’ next scheduled pick will not come until No. 107 in the fourth round.
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