The New England Patriots missed the playoffs by one game and have started the offseason. The Patriots hope to make improvements to ensure they do not miss the playoffs again next year.
New England has significant cap space and a handful of draft picks, starting with the 14th overall.
What are some of the team’s needs it can address in the 2023 NFL Draft? And what are our early Massachusetts sports betting odds on what New England might do with the 14th pick?
Patriots Draft Picks and Needs
|6th||170, 173, 178|
The Patriots had a solid season, but it was not good enough to make the playoffs. With that said, New England has only a handful of needs. If it can them with high-caliber players, it could mean not just a playoff appearance — but Super Bowl contention.
Believe it or not, the Patriots aren’t that far removed from that type of conversation.
New England needs another offensive playmaker — a true No. 1 target for Mac Jones. This is likely to be a wide receiver, but if New England found its next Rob Gronkowski at tight end, that could also work. In Jones’ first two years as the starting quarterback, he has not had a 1,000-yard receiver.
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Depending on if New England retains either of last season’s starting offensive tackles, New England might need two. No matter what, signing one in free agency and drafting another may be a wise move. To give Jones the best opportunity to succeed, he needs time to throw, and New England’s pass protection needs improvement.
Defensive Back Depth
New England has a solid starting rotation but needs to improve its depth and look toward the future. Devin McCourty has held the starting free safety position for seemingly forever, but he is not getting any younger. Picking up a couple of mid- to late-round defensive backs would be a good move.
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Potential Patriots Draft Prospects and Who to Target
Here are three players at each position who meet the Patriots’ needs and would likely be available in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft (April 27-29).
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Smith-Njigba is a classic high-value player that the Patriots end up getting way below draft value. Smith-Njigba did not play much last season at Ohio State with a nagging leg injury, but it’s nothing that should affect him long-term. Had Smith-Njigba been healthy and played well, he would likely be a top-10 pick. He is the definition of a No. 1 wide receiver for which teams have to game plan.
TE Michael Mayer
Mayer is one of the best tight end prospects in recent draft memory. If Mayer drops to the 14th pick, he may be a no-brainer for New England, which needs more consistent production from the tight end position.
WR Jalin Hyatt, WR Cedric Tillman
We will cheat here and have two players, but both were star receivers from Tennessee. One or both could be gone by New England’s second-round pick, but they are both players that can develop into No. 1 wide receivers.
OT Anton Harrison
With Pete Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr. both likely gone by the time New England picks, Harrison will be the highest-rated tackle available. Playing at Oklahoma in its pass-heavy offense, Harrison is accustomed to pass-blocking often and could shore up New England’s pass protection.
OT Dawand Jones
The second tackle in Ohio State’s star duo from this past college season. While Paris Johnson Jr. got a little more of the media spotlight, Jones was arguably just as good. It could be a great value pick if he is still available in the second round.
OT Cody Mauch
The Patriots have a history of drafting future starters from small schools and did so with last year’s first-round pick. Could New England find another diamond in the rough in North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch?
Defensive Back Depth
We will not list three players here as we think New England might target high-value, lost-cost defensive backs later in the draft. Here is a list of players that could be available on Day 3 of the draft that New England should consider.
- CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse
- CB Carrington Valentine, Kentucky
- CB Tony Grimes, North Carolina
- S Jay Ward, LSU
- S Brandon Joseph, Notre Dame
- S Sydney Brown, Illinois
Teams should always look at defensive backs from big schools that may be ranked low but have solid physical skills. All of the above players played at a major conference school and have seen a lot of heavy passing attacks.
While each may not have impressive stats, remember, sometimes it is more a product of their team’s lousy pass rush or the other defensive backs they played with. These are NFL Draft prospects for a reason.
Odds for What Patriots Will Do With 14th Pick
As the playoffs end and we get closer to the NFL Draft, this article will be updated with odds for what players the Patriots may draft. For the moment, here is a quick breakdown of our projected odds for what specific positions the Patriots may draft with the 14th overall pick.
|Position||PlayMA Projected Odds|
The Patriots’ biggest need this offseason is probably an offensive tackle, so we’re giving offensive line the shortest odds right now.
Receiver and defensive back are the next-most-likely positions. We’ll give the early odds edge to receiver, especially since this is thought of as a strong draft class of receivers and there’s a chance Smith-Njigba falls to New England at 14.
Tight end is the wild card. If Mayer is available at 14, he may simply be too good to pass up.
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