Patriots 2023 NFL Draft Watch: Georgia’s Broderick Jones a combine star

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 05: Broderick Jones of Georgia participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 05: Broderick Jones of Georgia participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots need a top offensive tackle (or three?) in the 2023 off-season. This a fact that even they have to recognize. It’s an absolute necessity if they intend to improve.

But, whether the team should attempt to sign new tackles in free agency (a costly move in cap dollars) or draft them, is a worthy argument.

Great free-agent signings are available. In addition, the draft has excellent options for the Patriots with their 14th overall pick.

So, with this in mind, what happened at the NFL Combine might have changed opinions somewhat. One offensive tackle’s Combine might just have done that and then some.

Let’s take a look at who was that impressive at the Combine and why he may just be an option for the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots may be able to draft …

One offensive tackle who shined at the combine was Broderick Jones of Georgia. Jones has always been rated highly by top services like Pro Football Focus. (PFF). PFF rates Jones their fourth-best OT in the draft but his performance at the combine may have altered that a bit.

Jones measured 6’5″ tall at 311 pounds. In addition, he has 34 3/4″ long arms and huge 10 5/8″ hands. He clearly dispelled any possible qualms about “length”, a requisite for offensive left tackle. He has a length in abundance. has this to say about Jones,

"Ultra-athletic tackle prospect with the size, length and potential to develop into a plus starter on the left side. Jones’ frame and technique both are in the developmental phase. His entry into block fits can be a little disjointed. He needs to improve his punch accuracy and timing to make the most of his length in pass protection. Jones is very talented at working into space and landing a block to help spring the running game. He has the nimble feet to mirror or recover against the rush. Jones isn’t a finished product, but the physical and athletic gifts allow for a projection as a good, long-time starter."

If a team such as the New England Patriots is looking for a left tackle, Jones is now a top draft option, if he wasn’t already. PFF’s top OT is Peter Skoronski of Northwestern.

He’s terrific but doesn’t necessarily have the optimum length for a tackle. He’s probably a better fit as a guard. The New England Patriots need tackles with length at all costs.

New England Patriots have solid options

The New England Patriots have that 14th pick overall in the NFL draft and options as to how to address offensive tackle. They can sit tight and draft one of the top left tackles if one falls to them at 14.

These are Paris Johnson from Ohio State, Anton Harrison of Oklahoma, and the aforementioned Broderick Jones. They can even take Skoronski if he slips. That’s one option and a good one.

Alternatively, they can sign a left tackle in free agency. Orlando Brown Jr. would be the top choice here. They can then wait a bit and perhaps even trade down to fill another necessary position.

Then they can draft an offensive tackle like massive Dawand Jones with their second pick, another solid option for the New England Patriots. A third option would be to sign a top right tackle like Mike McGlinchey and then draft a left tackle to play the left side immediately.

Alternatively, he could be their top backup with Trent Brown staying at left tackle for at least one more season. These are solid options based on a concerted strategy to bolster a position that needs augmentation with two or three solid additions.

Next. Patriots 2023 NFL Draft Watch: Anthony Richardson would change everything. dark

Will they undertake a real strategy and shore up the most important unit on the team, especially if they decide to roll with their immobile quarterback Mac Jones?

We’ll see. As always, it will be interesting if nothing else.