ESPN has these Patriots draft picks as highly questionable
Draft grades are continuing to pour in for the 2023 classes, and the New England Patriots received questionable feedback for two draft picks in particular.
ESPN’s Matt Bowen selected linebacker Marte Mapu as the draft pick in question, while Liz Loza couldn’t understand the Patriots selecting Maryland kicker Chad Ryland
Mapu brings depth to the linebacker group, as New England continues to look for playmakers at the position. They have headlining players already in Matthew Judon and Josh Uche. Now, that position will be a source of strength once again.
When breaking down the Mapu pick, Bowen wrote:
This isn’t a knock on Mapu as a prospect, as his versatility will be utilized in Bill Belichick’s defense. Instead, this is about the Patriots passing on some much-needed offensive juice here with wide receiver Josh Downs and running back Devon Achane still on the board. I thought both prospects would’ve boosted the pass game for quarterback Mac Jones.
Ryland offers New England a kicker with Nick Folk getting older. Folk has been consistent throughout his tenure with the Patriots, making 32-of-37 field goals in 2022, along with 32-of-35 extra points as well. Although linebacker and kicker may be positions of strength for now, youth will be needed in short order.
But like so many others, Loza was confused by the Patriots’ decision to trade up for Ryland in the fourth round:
The Pats traded up for a kicker with below-average leg strength, and they did it two rounds before they addressed the wide receiver position.
Time will tell how both Mapu and Ryland fair in the NFL. The Patriots did end up drafting two wide receivers in Kayshon Boutte and Demario Davis. This draft has players with potential for New England, as they look to keep pace in the AFC East.
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