The New England Patriots went defense with their first three picks of the 2023 NFL Draft. With nine total selections still in the fold, they have the capital to make some moves on Day 3 and get aggressive to target players they want on their team — presumably also on offense, this time around.
Who might be on their radar? With some help from our very own Pats Pulpit Big Board and the Consensus Big Board compiled by our friend Arif Hasan of Pro Football Network, let’s take a look at the best players still remaining for New England in this year’s draft.
As opposed to Friday’s top-50 list, we have eliminated round labels. At this point in time, the draft is very much a crapshoot anyway. We also have removed players who do no longer seem like realistic targets based on the Patriots’ moves over the last two days.
(*denotes players listed on the Pats Pulpit big board)
Potential targets: Dorian Thompson-Robinson* (UCLA), Tanner McKee (Stanford), Jake Haener (Fresno State)
Even with Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe and recently added Trace McSorley, it is realistic that the Patriots bring in another quarterback. They do have options, but the most intriguing one might be Dorian Thompson-Robinson. A five-year starter and true dual-threat weapon, he threw for 3,154 yards and 27 touchdowns last year while also adding over 600 yards and 12 scores on the ground.
Potential targets: DeWayne McBride* (UAB), Travis Dye* (USC), Roschon Johnson (Texas), Israel Abanikanda (Pitt), Zach Evans (Ole Miss), Chase Brown (Illinois), Eric Gray (Oklahoma), Sean Tucker (Syracuse), Kenny McIntosh (Georgia)
The Patriots’ running back position is relatively deep, but that does not mean there is no potential for upgraded depth. Two players we will have our eyes on are DeWayne McBride and Travis Dye. McBride could find himself on New England’s late-round board due to his collegiate production, whereas Dye is one of the best receiving backs in the class and strong in pass protection.
Potential targets: Charlie Jones* (Purdue), A.T. Perry* (Wake Forest), Ronnie Bell* (Michigan), Tyler Scott (Cincinnati), Kayshon Boutte (LSU), Xavier Hutchinson (Iowa State), Trey Palmer (Nebraska), Parker Washington (Penn State), Andrei Iosivas (Princeton)
One of New England’s biggest needs remains unaddressed for now, but there are some high-upside players available still on Day 3. Our top choices of the bunch are Charlie Jones, who is one of the best route runners in this class, as well as A.T. Perry, who would add serious size and playmaking potential to the Patriots’ outside wide receiver group. In addition, Ronnie Bell is a name to watch after taking a pre-draft visit with the team.
Potential targets: Will Mallory* (Miami), Zach Kuntz* (Old Dominion), Jaleel Billingsley* (Texas), Davis Allen (Clemson)
The Patriots have a need at tight end with Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki entering contract years. The most intriguing options of this group of players are Mallory, who projects to be more of an athletic F option in the NFL, as well as uber-athletic Zach Kunttz.
Potential targets: Dawand Jones* (Ohio State), Blake Freeland* (BYU), Nick Saldiveri* (Old Dominion), Warren McClendon* (Georgia), Jaelyn Duncan (Maryland)
After neither addressing the position on Thursday nor on Friday, it seems likely New England will add to its offensive tackle group at some point on Day 3. There are some intriguing options still in the board headlined by Ohio State’s Dawand Jones — a player that has drawn comparisons to Trent Brown due to his 6-foot-8, 374 pounds frame. However, maturity concerns have pushed him down the board and might make a lower-ceiling player like Blake Freeland the more realistic target for New England: in four years at BYU, he logged 15 starts at right tackle and 27 at left tackle.
Interior offensive line
Potential targets: Alex Forsyth* (Oregon), OL McClendon Curtis* (Chattanooga), Luke Wypler (Ohio State), Chandler Zavala (N.C. State), Olusegun Oluwatimi (Michigan), Andrew Vorhees (USC), Braeden Daniels (Utah), Emil Ekiyor Jr. (Alabama), Jarrett Patterson (Notre Dame), Anthony Bradford (LSU)
The Patriots’ starter level is set along the interior offensive line; center David Andrews will be flanked by guards Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu in 2023. However, the long-term future is a bit of a question mark with Onwenu in a contract year and Andrews getting up there in age. Also, the depth behind the trio is somewhat of a mystery at this point in time. A player like Alex Forsyth, who was a three-year starter at center at Oregon, might make sense on Day 3.
Interior defensive line
Potential targets: DT Jerrod Clark* (Coastal Carolina), Jaquelin Roy (LSU)
The Patriots’ interior defensive line is also in good shape at the moment, which does not make this position as pressing a need as others. Still, depth is never a bad thing to have and Jerrod Clark and Jaquelin Roy are arguably the top options still on the board at this time.
Potential targets: Isaiah Moore* (North Carolina State), Bumper Pool* (Arkansas), Nick Herbig (Wisconsin), Henry To’oTo’o (Alabama), Noah Sewell (Oregon), Owen Pappoe (Auburn), Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati)
The Patriots’ might not be going after an off-the-ball linebacker in the draft after picking versatile hybrid safety Marte Mapu in Round 3. However, if they opt for a more traditional prospect, there are options they might explore. to help both on defense and in the kicking game.
Potential targets: Adam Korsak* (Rutgers)
A punter. From Rutgers. Need we say more?