Either through free agency or the draft — or both — the New England Patriots need to improve their offensive tackle position this offseason. ESPN draft guru Todd McShay agrees: his first mock draft of the year has the team invest its first-round pick in 2023 in a tackle.
15. New England Patriots (7-6)
Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Simply put, the Patriots won’t find significant success with Mac Jones at quarterback if they can’t keep him upright. They’ve allowed 32 sacks and posted a 57.8% pass block win rate this season — both registering as 19th best in the NFL. Jones has the size, quick feet and upper-body strength to improve this unit. He hasn’t allowed a single sack this season in 13 starts at left tackle, and Isaiah Wynn is on an expiring contract, so there will be a need at one of the team’s tackle spots in the offseason.
The Patriots trusted Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn to hold down the fort at tackle in 2022, but the pair has had a tough time after switching positions during the offseason. Brown, the new left-side starter, has recently been plagued by an illness; Wynn, the long-time blindside protector, has had a rough time adapting to life on the right side.
With the latter a realistic candidate to leave as a free agent in 2023, and with Brown in the middle of his worst season as a Patriot, reinforcements such as Georgia’s Broderick Jones make sense.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder has been one of the best tackles in college football this season. Accordingly, he is the third player off the board at the position behind Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski (No. 7 to Indianapolis) and Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. (No. 9 to Pittsburgh).