With the No. 14 Pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Patriots select:
If trades before the New England Patriots selection pushes a blue chip player down the board, they absolutely should pounce.
The question is which one. There could be a run on offensive tackles, which pushes Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon right to New England’s doorstep. And if the Patriots make that call, I would be overjoyed.
Witherspoon has the traits to become a shutdown corner, and he’s an enthusiastic tackler. His current weight isn’t a problem, as he will fill out over time. But there’s a very realistic chance Witherspoon, and my 1A choice, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez, will both be gone.
If the Patriots are committed to taking a corner first andPenn State’s Joey Porter Jr. is there for the taking, I feel New England will pass. They don’t seem to favor huge corners. The limit seems to be 6-1.
Maybe New England would consider Maryland’s Deonte Banks, but South Carolina’s Cam Smith is a better tackler, so I rank him next on the Patriots draft board.
I don’t expect the Patriots to reach for a corner and I’m not predicting trading down. But if Gonzalez and Witherspoon are off the board, then it’s possible the off-season of Mac Jones continues with some protection.
Georgia’s Broderick Jones might be off the board, leaving Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. or Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski available. Either way, the New England Patriots need to fortify a shaky O-line and add a cornerstone for the next decade. Trent Brown will be a free agent after the 2023 season and the two free agent additions (Riley Reiff, Calvin Anderson) aren’t long-term solutions.
I won’t rule out Tennessee’s Darnell Wright. His stock is blowin’ up. And even though he’s a projected right tackle, anyone that can make the O-line better is a welcomed addition.