The New England Patriots 2023 first-round pick has to be an offensive tackle. Knowing the team’s draft history, however, it’s unlikely that they will do what they should. It is what it is. Nonetheless, talking about that position is still the right thing to do.
Paris Johnson of Ohio State is a favorite because of his length and experience at offensive left tackle. He’d be a great pick but the rub is, he will not likely be available to the New England Patriots at pick No.14.
To land Johnson, the team would have to trade up and give up other assets. There are a few other tackles who would be just fine but one who might actually make even more has been under the shadow of his Ohio State teammate, Johnson.
That Ohio State offensive tackle would be Dawand Jones. If the Patriots are looking for a bookend for massive tackle Trent Brown and can’t get Johnson, Jones might be their man. Let’s take a look at why.
New England Patriots can land offensive tackle Dawand Jones
Jones is a behemoth in the size area of the aforementioned Trent Brown (a favorite in this space). Two things even Dante Scarnecchia, the New England Patriots long-time offensive line coach and a possible Pro Football Hall of Famer can’t teach are height and length.
Jones has them in abundance. He stands at 6’8″ tall and weighs 375 pounds. He was ranked No. nine on Pro Football Focus’s (PFF) top 10. They projected him as a late Day 2 (second or third-round pick).
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Here’s what they wrote about him prior to the Senior Bowl festivities,
"Jones is one of the most interesting evaluations in the 2023 tackle class. He’s one of the most physically imposing men you’ll see on a football field with a frame that is stunningly large (reportedly a 7-foot, 5-inch wingspan). At that size, Jones is capable of completely eliminating the man in front of him on any given play. He’s also more consistent with his technique than you might expect for a player of his size, and it showed in his two seasons as a starter. He allowed only 15 pressures over that span.While he moves well for a 350-plus-pounder, his foot speed is still well below average for the position."
If the New England Patriots want length, then Jones meets all the requirements with that 7’5″ wingspan.
yahoo.com cited his brief but poignant Senior Bowl week performance,
"Jones impressed NFL coaches with his length and raw power last week, including Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Jones was considered a lock sometime in the second or third round, but could find himself in the first round."
Jones seems to fit better as a right tackle and since offensive left tackle is the Patriots’ top need, he may not be exactly what they are looking for. But with his size, he should be an impediment anywhere he is deployed on the offensive line. His length makes up for all sorts of deficiencies.
New England Patriots could draft Jones later
Jones only had one day of practice at the Senior Bowl and was scrubbed for the rest but he still managed to make a huge impression.
Here’s what giants.com had to say,
"Dawand Jones: We only got one day of practice from the massive Jones (6’8, 375), but what we saw was dominant as he manhandled every player that tried to use speed to beat him to the outside. An injury kept him out of practice the rest of the week."
Have to like that he “manhandled” the best senior edge rushers at his lone practice. That’s exactly what the New England Patriots need in its next offensive tackles.
So that’s another possibility at offensive tackle for the New England Patriots in the draft. They could probably trade down, aggregate more picks, and still land a solid future starter in Jones.