2023 NFL Draft: Why Patriots should target Baylor DT Siaki Ika

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 17: Siaki Ika #62 of the Baylor Bears pressures Layne Hatcher #3 of the Texas State Bobcats in the first half at McLane Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 17: Siaki Ika #62 of the Baylor Bears pressures Layne Hatcher #3 of the Texas State Bobcats in the first half at McLane Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots’ top draft need is an offensive tackle like Paris Johnson but the team also needs a solid, big defensive tackle to pair with Christian Barmore. This should be with their second pick.

Many observers in mock drafts feel the team needs a wide receiver and a cornerback. Indeed, they do, but they should avoid them in the first two rounds. They are another draft disaster waiting to happen. The team is incapable of getting those positions right in the draft.

The preferable ways to address those two positions are free agency, trade, or even Undrafted Free Agency (UDFA).

The UDFA process has been an unbridled success and delivered Malcolm Butler and Jonathan Jones, two starting cornerbacks. among other finds.

Defensive tackle is a key position that needs addressing early right after offensive tackle. And there is a really good one who may be available in the second round (or not). He should be a prime target even if it takes a trade-up to get him.

Let’s take a look at this great fit for the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots should draft Siaki Ika of Baylor

Again, the New England Patriots have had great results over the Bill Belichick era using huge defensive tackles to clog the middle for opposing offenses.

These include the great Vince Wilfork, Ted Washington, Tractor Traylor, and even Atlanta Super Bowl hero, Alan Branch. The next in line could be Baylor’s Siaki Ika.

247sports.com has this to say,

"Massive frame. Built like a tank at 350 pound. Immovable on the interior. Agile and quick off the snap. Demands double teams. Impressive motor and hand technique. Balanced skill set as pass rusher with sound technique. Impactful in run defense, can shed blocks and plug gaps. Needs to trim down to build conditioning. Can improve counter moves. High upside and potential to be a consensus All-American and future NFL Draft Day 2 selection."

Ika started at LSU and then moved on to Baylor. If you’re looking for a middle-clogging huge DT who may be a 10-year player, Ika is the man.

Ika would be a great complement to your best DT, Christian Barmore, and would make Davon Godchaux expendable by trade, or at a minimum Ika would be a great rotational player initially.

Here’s what nfldraftbuzz.com has to say about the massive DT,

"After season’s end Ika transferred to Baylor where as a junior for the Bears in 2021 Ika played in 13 games and played 505 snaps for the Bears. He recorded 16 tackles, 4 assists while making 18 stops. As a pass rusher, he produced 33 total pressures, which included 24 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and a solid 6 sacks on the year.In 2022 as a senior Ika logged playing time in 12 games and logged a total of 416 snaps for the Bears. He also added 20 tackles, 4 assists, and 13 stops. As a pass rusher, he tallied 18 total pressures, which included 15 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and no sacks on the season."

New England Patriots 2023 draft should focus on quality, not quantity

The focus of the 2023 draft should be quality over quantity. The New England Patriots will likely have 11 draft picks this April, including projected compensatory picks. It’s time to use those high picks in the right positions. Package them for quality if necessary.

In the draft, those positions are an OT in the first round and a DT next. Then add other positions of need like wide receiver, cornerback, tight end, and linebacker with the rest.

Siaki Ika is slotted as the third-best defensive tackle by Pro Football Focus (PFF). He fits the bill size-wise at 6’4″ tall and 358 pounds. The problem is PFF has him as a first or second-round pick.

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That means the Patriots may have to move up in the draft after taking an offensive tackle to snag him. They are no strangers to draft-day trades. Get it right this time and go get Ika.

The clock is ticking. The draft is only about 2 months away. Go get veteran, solid players in free agency or by trade, and use the top two draft picks to select at least two starters for your lines. Siaki Ika should be one of them.

Who do you think the New England Patriots should draft and at what positions? We’d like to hear.