The New England Patriots have the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Which direction should they go with this selection? The 10-7 Patriots in 2021 looked like a promising bunch. Then, Josh McDaniels left for Las Vegas, and head coach Bill Belichick decided to make a defensive coach, Matt Patricia, the offensive play-caller.
This move unveiled quite a few issues wrong with the offense and the personnel. It’s clear that the Patriots need a difference maker at wide receiver, and they could also use a tackle. The defense, like always, is elite, so there likely won’t be many changes with that unit.
Quarterback Mac Jones regressed a bit in year two, but it seems like it was largely due to Patricia’s ineptitude calling the offense, so while I think New England will sniff around for a quarterback upgrade, I don’t think they’ll make one.
New England Patriots: 3 options with their first round pick
Take one of the top ranked tackles
Whether it’s Paris Johnson, Peter Skoronski, or Broderick Jones, the New England Patriots could use some help along the offensive line. Coming into last offseason, Isaiah Wynn was slated to continue work as the team’s right tackle, and Trent Brown was slated to remain at his right tackle spot.
However, a weird decision to switch the two, and down campaigns from both players have lead the Patriots to now have a burning need at tackle. Isaiah Wynn is a free agent at the end of the year and Trent Brown has been up and down during his entire career.
The Patriots do have $50 million in 2023 cap space, so they could realistically upgrade both tackle spots, but drafting one in the mid-teens might be a smart decision.
Try to snag a top receiver
The other big issue with the offense for the New England Patriots is the pedestrian receiving core. Both Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers are free agents at the end of the year, so it’s possible that both won’t return.
That would leave Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton as the top players in that unit. Simply put, that is not cutting it at all. While all three are talented, none of them are difference makers or better than a 2 or 3 in an offense.
The Patriots would be smart to add a dynamic playmaker with the 14th overall pick. Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison could be nice additions for Mac Jones
Use the 14th pick to trade for a receiver
There are two big name receivers that should be traded this offseason: DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks.
While neither may cost the 14th overall pick, Hopkins easily could, and getting an immediate impact player at this position of need instead of drafting a receiver–something Bill Belichick has not really been able to do, would be a smart decision for the New England Patriots.
In a weird scenario, I could see Davante Adams wanting a trade. I could also see the Denver Broncos taking phone calls for Courtland Sutton. This is all to say that the Patriots could simply use their draft picks to acquire a difference maker at this position instead of drafting one.