The NFL Draft has arrived, and the Patriots have a pretty important pick to make Thursday evening. And for now, 10 other picks after their first-round selection.
Bill Belichick and company head into the 2023 NFL Draft with 11 selections, including the 14th overall pick in Thursday night’s first round. Only the Packers, Texans, and Raiders have more selections than the Patriots, as each possesses a dozen heading into the draft.
If the Patriots do indeed use that 14th overall pick, it will be the highest they’ve drafted since 2008, when the team drafted current defensive coach and reported head-coach-in-waiting Jerod Mayo at 10th overall. In true Belichick fashion, he traded down from the No. 7 pick (which he acquired the season prior for trading out of the first round) that year to land Mayo.
And you may remember that the Patriots picked in the teens a few years ago, when they drafted quarterback Mac Jones at No. 15 overall.
Will they hang on and use that 14th overall pick? Will Belichick trade up, down, or out of the first round again? We’ll find out sometime Thursday night when the picks start coming off the board in Kansas City.
PATRIOTS TRADE DOWN, GET EXTRA PICK FROM STEELERS
With multiple targets falling their way, the Patriots traded down with the Steelers to get multiple picks. New England sent its 14th overall pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for the 17th overall spot and a fourth-round selection (120th overall).
New England moved down three spots and added a fourth-round pick.
With the Pats’ pick, the Steelers chose Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones. He was on New England’s radar, but so are many other players still available.
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.
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.
An all-Pac-12 first-team selection, Gonzalez started all 12 regular-season games in his lone season with the Ducks. He led Oregon with four interceptions, third-most in the Pac-12, and finished with 50 total tackles and one tackle for loss. Two of Gonzalez’s four picks came in a road win against his former school, Colorado, and his 118 interception return yards on the season were the most by a Duck since Steve Smith in 2001.
Gonzalez tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with 11 passes defended, and tied for ninth with seven passes broken up. His 81.2 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus was best among all Ducks and fourth among Pac-12 cornerbacks, and his 81.4 coverage grade also ranked fourth in the Pac-12 at his position.
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