The New England Patriots failed to meet playoff expectations with an 8-9 finish. Following a promising rookie season, quarterback Mac Jones had a sophomore slump and was one of the NFL’s least efficient signal-callers. New England finished 26th in yards per game, compared to 15th in the 2021 season. Poor offensive play-calling was the main problem for most of the season.
The Patriots will be looking to solidify their offense by landing a new offensive coordinator and upgrading several key spots, like offensive tackle and wide receiver. The defense will continue to be New England’s calling card, but with a good 2023 NFL Draft, the Pats can become a more balanced squad.
2022 Season Record: 8-9
Status of Coach: Bill Belichick – Safe
Positions needed by the Patriots
- Offensive tackle
- Wide receiver
Notable Draft Picks
- Round 1, Pick 14
- Round 2, Pick 46
Potential First-Round Targets
Entering the offseason, offensive tackle is the most pressing need. The Patriots’ offensive line severely underachieved, especially at the tackle spots. In nine games, right tackle Isaiah Wynn allowed 17 pressures and committed eight penalties. Wynn is headed for free agency and could be headed elsewhere. Left tackle Trent Brown also had an underwhelming season. Plus, New England could have less depth with Conor McDermott and Yodny Cajuste hitting free agency.
The Pats must draft at least one tackle, maybe even two, depending on their free-agency moves. Right tackle is a big hole that must be addressed. Fortunately, New England’s No. 14 selection is an ideal spot to land an immediate impact player at tackle. Peter Skoronski (Northwestern), Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State), and Broderick Jones (Georgia) are the top offensive tackles of the 2023 class. At least one of these prospects will likely be available at the No. 14 overall pick.
Skoronski is a bit undersized at 6-foot-4, but his technique and athleticism make up for his lack of length. Per Pro Football Focus, Skoronski allowed only six pressures and one sack in the 2022 season. Johnson has great length at 6-foot-6 and he has impressive athleticism for his size. The Ohio State product also adds a mean streak to the run game and has consistently improved in pass protection. Jones would likely be New England’s third option, but he still has exciting upside with elite athleticism and strength in his 6-foot-4 frame. Jones is excellent in the run game and excels in space.
Loved how #UGA showcased LT Broderick Jones in space, on screens, toss plays, and more times then not he cleared an alley for his backs.
Currently my OT2, his tools and athleticism are absurd. Would not be surprised if he entered the Top 10 discussion after the combine. pic.twitter.com/TmibG2elQu
— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) January 19, 2023
Learn More About the AFC East Draft 2023
- Buffalo Bills 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- Miami Dolphins 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
- New York Jets 2023 Positions Needed & First Round Draft Picks
Potential Second-Round Targets
In the second round, the Pats will likely decide between a wide receiver or cornerback. Jakobi Meyers, who led New England with 804 receiving yards, is a free agent. Plus, the unit was already lacking consistency without a true No. 1 target. Cornerback Jonathan Jones is also a free agent. This could be a thin group with Jack Jones and Marcus Jones leading the way.
Wideout feels like the bigger need, especially with Nelson Agholor also hitting free agency. North Carolina’s Josh Downs or Boston College’s Zay Flowers are great options. Both prospects would add more speed to the offense and project as slot receivers. Downs and Flowers are electric after the catch.
SMU’s Rashee Rice could be the best fit. He is one of the most polished route runners in the class, can make contested catches, and is dangerous in the open field. The Patriots could use an all-around receiver that can excel at any level.