The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the history books as Rounds 4-7 concluded on Saturday. Here are the top winners and losers from the final day, with a focus on the New England Patriots and the league as a whole.
Winner: Patriots. After a strong first two days, New England had another solid day on Saturday. With question marks in the short-term future along the interior of the offensive line, they drafted quality depth/potential future starters in Jack Andrews, Sidy Sow, and Atoni Mafi. Additionally on offense, New England double-dipped at wide receiver with some intriguing high-upside talents in Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas in the sixth-round.
The Patriots also hit a refresh in the special teams department, adding the consensus No. 2 kicker, Chad Ryland, and No. 1 punter, Bryce Baringer. They also brought in a pair of defensive backs with an intriguing blend of size/speed who could impact the kicking game. It was an overall strong end to the draft for New England bolstering their depth chart.
Loser: James Ferentz. As touched on above, the Patriots added some serious depth to the interior of their offensive line. While Ferentz’s experience and leadership has been valued, the 33-year-old now has some serious competition for a roster spot.
Winner: New England’s offensive tackles. Trent Brown and Riley Reiff made our Day 2 winners, but the whole unit lands on the list after Saturday. While Sow potentially has some tackle flexibility, all three lineman New England added project mainly as interior options. The Patriots will role with they entered the week with at tackle.
“I think we definitely got a lot of good guys [at tackle] to work with,” Matt Groh said at the conclusion of the draft. “We’ll see what all our guys do to mix in with the free agent crowd and we do have some good slid depth there.”
Losers: Nick Folk & Corliss Waitman. The Patriots usually carry two kickers and punters in the offseason, but they went out and drafted two highly-regarded prospects in Chad Ryland and Bryce Baringer. They even traded up for Ryland, who became the highest specialist Bill Belichick has ever drafted. The rookies are expected to have the inside track over the veterans for roster spots.
Honorable Mention: Mac Jones/Bill O’Brien. New England added an intriguing duo at wide receiver, but they are truly wild cards. And while the depth along the offensive line was needed, the Patriots will hope to not rely on any of them next season with Strange, Andrews, and Onwenu still in the building. With no major, immediate offensive splash, it’s up to BOB and Mac to work with what they've got.
Around the League
Winner: Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis built off its strong start with an impressive Day 3. They added some strong athletes in Blake Freeland and Adetomiwa Adebawore with their two fourth-round selection, getting both players lower than their consensus ranking. With a quartet of fifth-rounders, Indy added some intriguing talents and more plus-athletes in cornerback Darius Rush, tight end Will Mallory, and running back Evan Hull as well.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles. Another day, another dollar for Howie Roseman. The Eagles were aggressive moving up to start the fourth-round to acquire defensive back Kelee Ringo. Another former Bulldog, Ringo should be a strong fit in Vic Fangio’s defense. Beyond that, Philadelphia then went out and traded for (another former Bulldog) D’Andre Swift.
Loser: Quarterback reaches. Eight quarterbacks flew off the board between Rounds 4-6, which may have caused for some panic. Two that stand out: the Rams taking Stetson Bennett at pick No. 128 and the Packers going with Sean Clifford at No. 149. One quarterback fit I was a fan of, however, was BYU’s Jaren Hall landing in Minnesota.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals. Just using this to shout out Cincinnati here for landing wide receiver Charlie Jones in the fourth round. Jones will be a great fit there, especially with Tyler Boyd in a contract year. The rich get richer.