The New England Patriots need a great draft in 2023 no matter what else happened. Now, with the New York Jets signing Aaron Rodgers, the need is even more acute.
To make a run for the playoffs, a super draft was absolutely necessary. Now, with the Jets improving dramatically, the need is even more inescapable.
Observers think the team is now looking up at the rest of the AFC East. They’re right. They have the worst personnel and the worst quarterback in the AFC East. Their activities in free agency helped marginally but nowhere near enough.
It will fall to the draft to narrow the widening chasm between the New England Patriots and the rest of the division.
New England Patriots 2023 draft has to be a difference-maker
The New England Patriots traditionally allow even high draft picks time before being inserted into the starting lineup. That may be because, for the most part, they couldn’t measure up.
Last season, theyill-advisedly drafted a guard Cole Strange, in the first round. The greater need was an offensive tackle. Strange started because they had decimated their own line by parting ways with two starting-caliber guards, Shaq Mason, and the versatile Ted Karras.
To further exacerbate matters, they reached way up in the first round for Strange, routinely acknowledged as a third-round talent.
Strange had to start. He did. He played OK but was benched by Bill Belichick only to return because of a drastic injury scenario. It was a poor pick on any number of levels.
This season the draft has to provide players who can deliver immediately. There’s no margin for error.
After theykicked Tom Brady to the curb, the New England Patriots have become also-rans and looked upon as possible cellar-dwellers. Free agency delivered slight upgrades, but not enough.
The Patriots’ quarterback situation is muddled. They have the worst starting quarterbacks in the division. There is no other option, the Patriots have to crush this draft or risk a last-place finish in the AFC East.
For two decades the team had the unquestionable best quarterback in the AFC East and anywhere else for that matter. Now, simply stated, they don’t.
Some mock drafts have suggested drafting a quarterback in a higher round. That makes perfect sense. Quarterback is the most important position on the field bar none.
New England Patriots need an A+++ 2023 draft
This space has been emphatic in suggesting that the New England Patriots uncharacteristically depart from their usual almost incomprehensible draft modus operandi and conduct a “consensus” draft.
That means no reaches for players who no one else wouldn’t draft as high and no fliers in the higher rounds on obscure players no one has even heard of.
The team has a couple of things in its favor going into the April 27 draft. First, they have an ace-in-the-hole.
Since they need help at every position, and while they have greater needs like offensive tackle, defensive backfield, wide receiver, and tight end, they really can’t flub up positionally. Any position they choose is a need position from quarterback to safety and even kickers.
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Secondly, the team just has to draft sensibly as noted with a consensus draft, and they will be fine. This should be a draft that even the Patriots personnel operation can’t mess up. Possibly.
Yet, still, anyone who places a bet on their first-round pick and gets it right should win the grand prize. They are totally erratic and capricious.
Yet, this week, the team can’t afford those stumbling blocks. There is no great safety valve, Tom Brady to bail them out of their personnel misadventures.
We’ll see if they stay true to their usual form or finally do the right thing by drafting in a consensus fashion, staying away from reaches, and delivering a great result.
Can’t wait to see. After all, that’s why they have the huge draft extravaganza every year.