2023 NFL Mock Draft roundup: Final predictions for Patriots at No. 14
2023 NFL Mock Draft roundup: Final predictions for Patriots at No. 14 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There's a whole lot at stake for the New England Patriots this weekend.
The Patriots enter the 2023 NFL Draft armed with 11 selections, tied for second-most of any team. They own their highest pick (No. 14) since 2008 -- when they took future assistant coach Jerod Mayo at No. 10 -- and six selections in the top 135.
Oh, and they also have plenty of needs. While cornerback, offensive lineman and wide receiver are the most pressing concerns, New England could benefit from upgrades at essentially every position after going 8-9 and missing the postseason for the second time in three seasons.
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Want evidence of the Patriots' wide range of needs? Look no further than the latest mock drafts.
We compiled 10 mocks from national outlets (as well as our own draft expert Phil Perry) published within the past 48 hours, and there's almost zero consensus: The mocks have New England using the No. 14 pick on eight different players at five different positions.
So, what Bill Belichick does in Thursday night's first round (if he even keeps the No. 14 pick) is essentially a coin flip. But here are some of their most likely options in Round 1.
Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
2023 NFL Draft Highlights: Deonte Banks - CB, Maryland
Perry's take: (Banks) is a ridiculous athlete (4.35-second 40, 42-inch vertical). He has real size, which the Patriots desperately need at this position (6-feet, 197 pounds). He can play in a variety of coverages, as he showed while with the Terps. ... It's a deep corner position, but no one else in the class has the profile Banks does.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia
Florio's take: N/A
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia
Kiper's take: Smith strikes me as exactly the type of edge defender the Patriots would love to have. He could rack up 10 sacks per season for Bill Belichick & Co. I love this fit.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
McShay's take: The Patriots have two older players at offensive tackle -- Trent Brown (30) and Riley Reiff (34) -- and their quarterback struggled under pressure last season, as Mac Jones turned in the NFL's worst QBR in those situations (4.1). This should be a focus for New England on Day 1, and Skoronski is a plug-and-play starter.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Lukas Van Ness, ED, Iowa
Jeremiah's take: Some players just feel like New England Patriots. Van Ness is one of them. Smart, physical and tough.
Peter Schrager, NFL.com: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Schrager's take: A gamebreaker who can play inside, outside and contribute on special teams. The Patriots need points, points, points. Zay helps.
Cris Collinsworth, Pro Football Focus: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Collinsworth's take: There are guys in this class who are going to be better run-blockers, but the NFL is about pass protection. Harrison has really quick feet and good recovery quickness. I thought he got edgier as the season went along, too.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Prisco's take: Jones might have the most upside of all the tackles in this class. He is a smooth tackle who can move in space and excels getting to the second level. He could step in and solve the left tackle spot for the Patriots, a position of need. I think he could also play guard down the road.
Chad Graff, The Athletic: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Graff's take: Jones has so many of the traits teams want in a modern offensive tackle, but there’s one concern: He played in only 19 collegiate games, the least of any lineman in the class. But the Pats badly need an offensive tackle of the future, and they get one in Jones, who is only 21 and should have a lengthy career in front of him.
Ari Meirov, 33rd Team: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Meirov's take: Gonzalez should not be falling this far, as some rated him as the top corner in this draft. He has great size, length, speed and ball skills and would fit in nicely across Jonathan Jones if he made it to the New England Patriots at No. 14.