The New England Patriots will be on the clock in a little over two weeks’ time in Kansas City in the 2023 draft which will be critical to the team’s success in the upcoming season.
The team has thus far had an up-and-down offseason in the critical team-building phase that will determine how well the team will do in 2023.
They’ve added a solid receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster while losing another good one in Jakobi Meyers. They’ve also upgraded their tight end position by signing Mike Gesicki, a far better option than the now-traded Jonnu Smith.
Yet, they have in sum done little to upgrade either their offensive or defensive lines and that’s where the draft has to come in to remedy those deficiencies.
Not attending to those needs can mean only one thing and that’s continued post-Tom Brady mediocrity and another fair-to-middling 2023 season.
New England Patriots need to draft offensive linemen
After the most important position on the field in any sport, the quarterback (a position now in some turmoil on the team), there is no more important position than offensive left tackle and no unit more important than the offensive line.
Without a quarterback, you’re toast in the NFL and even if you have one unless he’s one like Brady was who can supersede any and all obstacles he faces, you’re likely going to be out-to-lunch and an also-ran in the standings.
This season, the team returns Trent Brown who has had an inconsistent time the past two seasons at left tackle. At his best, he’s a top-quality tackle. Yet, he can be less than that. In addition, he’s in the last year of his current contract and is 30 years old April 13th.
It’s therefore incumbent on the team to draft a tackle in one of their first two picks preferably a left tackle. That player can move right into the starting spot if the team and Brown part ways after the season. Drafting a young tackle is not an option, is an absolute necessity.
While the sizzle of taking a wide receiver or maybe even a cornerback with one of the first two picks is certainly there and appreciated (who doesn’t like the prospect of a No. One wide receiver?), the steak still lies in the offensive and defensive lines. Address those first.
New England Patriots need defensive line augmentation
The New England Patriots defensive line doesn’t get much attention in mock drafts. Talk about having little sizzle. Unless it’s a dynamic edge player, there’s very little there as well.
Yet, other than Christian Barmore and Dietrich Wise Jr. the team is filled with just average players. Again, the mock draft here provided the infusion of a top interior defensive lineman, Siaki Ika of Oregon to step in at an interior defensive line spot.
Another option is counter-intuitive and an exception to the rule. That would be to not pass up Lukas Van Ness, a Watt-brother-like player who could play both on the edge, at the defensive end, and slide inside on passing downs.
He’s a difference-maker and explosive. He’d fit right into the older Patriots’ D-line quite nicely, thank you.
The New England Patriots have about 11 picks in the upcoming draft. Feel good if they take care of first things first and shore up both of their lines, especially with at least two offensive linemen.
Then they can go ahead, and trade up maybe to augment other holes in the team such as wide receiver for certain, cornerback, and tight end.
That’s the suggestion here. It ain’t glitzy or glamorous but it’s the key after quarterback to success. It is what it is, simply essential to building a winning team.