2023 NFL Draft position analysis: Patriots wide receiver fits vs. draft wishes

Mississippi wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (1) races up the field with a 71 yard touchdown pass past Vanderbilt.Nas Vanderbilt Miss 053
Mississippi wide receiver Jonathan Mingo (1) races up the field with a 71 yard touchdown pass past Vanderbilt.Nas Vanderbilt Miss 053 /
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New England Patriots
Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (3) catches the ball as North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Storm Duck (29) defends. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Kearis Jackson vs. Dontayvion Wicks

Raw Athletic Score Head-to-head.

Kearis Jackson isn’t the Georgia receiver I want the New England Patriots to draft, but Adonai Mitchell is at least a year away. Until that day comes, Jackson would give the Patriots what they got from Malcolm Mitchell. And hopefully it would be for more than one year.

Jackson might just be an average receiver, but there’s no denying that he goes all out every time he has the ball. Jackson will get the most out of every quick screen or slant that comes his way.

What may set Jackson apart is football IQ. Coming out of the Georgia program, he has an understanding of reading coverages and making quick decisions to get open. That could be the key to Jackson being selected by the Patriots. And if he is, it might not take Jackson long to pick up the offense, like Malcolm Mitchell did with the New England Patriots.

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Jackson also has experience as a returner. He won’t take the job away from Marcus Jones, but Jackson would be valuable as a back-up.

Stop watches say Jackson has a step on Dontayvion Wicks (4.55 vs. 4.62), but it doesn’t look like that’s the case in highlights. Wicks averaged 21.1 yards per reception the year he broke Virginia’s single-season receiving yards record in 2021.

Scouting reports say Wicks has a problem with drops. That’s a concern, but at the same time his highlights are littered with impressive, contested catches. Whether draped over his back or reaching around a DB, Wicks had some, “how did he catch that?” receptions.

Next. Patriots 2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Needs fulfilled in first 3 rounds. dark

If Wicks fixes his drops problem, he could be a great intermediate route runner going over the middle and along the sidelines. He might not get behind defenses like he did as a Cavalier, but he can certainly be a go-to receiver when the team needs a first down.

Wicks is projected to go in the fourth round, while Jackson will wait until the sixth or seventh round.