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MORSE: Way Too Early Patriots Mock Draft #1

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
January 24, 2023 at 10:05 am ET

MORSE: Way Too Early Patriots Mock Draft #1(PHOTO: USA Today - USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Jan 24, 2023 10:05
🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

2023 Draft Coverage

With the Patriots missing the playoffs, we can get a jump on the 2023 NFL Draft.  The Patriots will have their highest draft choice since 2008 when they selected Jerod Mayo #10 after a trade down from #7.

The number of Patriots selections is probably going to be 11 per Mike Dussault of

1st round

2nd round

3rd round

4th round  (Comp. Projected – Jackson)

4th round (via LAR/Sony Michel)

5th round (Comp. Projected – Karras)

6th round

6th round (via CAR/Gilmore)

6th round (via LVR/Stidham)

7th round (Comp. Projected – Bolden)

(That’s 10 Mike?)

In the PFF Mock Draft Simulator, they have 9 as follows:

14, 46, 76, 97, 107, 117, 170, 211, 234

Since we are using the PFF Simulator we will use the 9 picks.

Free Agents

I would concentrate on re-signing two of the Patriots’ own Free Agents.  I would bring back Jakobi Meyers and Jonathan Jones.  Jones is older at 29.  He signed a 3-year extension in 2019 before he became a starter.   Market value according to Spotrac is 2 years $24M, AAV $12M.  The Jones signing would give the Patriots some immediate flexibility.  Jones has played well at the boundary corner.  I believe he has the instincts and speed to play the Free Safety position.  He is a very sound tackler.  There is no one in Free Agency that I like as a Free Safety to replace Devin McCourty.  I anticipate that McCourty will call it quits.

Meyers is ranked the 8th best FA available and will demand a 4-year $50M contract, AAV $12.5M.  This takes a big chunk of the Free Agent budget away, but it also sends a message to the other players on the team that when you come up for your Free Agency year that the team will listen to reasonable contract talks.

Since the team needs two OTs, I would go hard after Mike McGlinchey, the former 1st round pick #9, at Right Tackle for San Francisco.  It will likely take 4 years $43M, AAV $10.75M.  That’s going to chew up 3/4 of the Free Agent budget.

Draft Needs

Evan Lazar of Patriots .com, is the best draft prognosticator and talent evaluator amongst the local media.  His Draft Needs are listed as follows:  OT, WR, CB, FS, LB, 3rd Down RB, Specialists (K, P, LS) TE/FB, DL

Depending on how the draft board falls out, there may not be an OT worth taking at #14.  I feel FS is more important than WR and CB at this time.  I expect that Devin McCourty will retire.  There are just not a lot of players in the draft that can fill that position.  I call this position scarcity and it pushes players up the draft board, meaning they get selected earlier than they should.  If the Patriots re-sign Jon Jones they will minimize the position scarcity by moving Jones to safety, or moving Jalen Mills to safety,  and drafting a CB later.

These are my Draft Priorities:  LT, WR, CB/S, LB, RB that can catch, P, DL, TE, and OL.  They also need a developmental QB, FB, and K.

Mock Draft #1– Way too early but you have to start somewhere!  This was a nice exercise, becoming familiar with the players.

Utilized Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator – 9 picks

#14         Devon Witherspoon CB Illinois

The #1 shutdown corner in this draft.  He is 6’ 210 lbs and runs a 4.42 40-yard dash.   Witherspoon was selected the Big 10 Defensive Back of the Year and gave up less than 35 yards in 11 of the 12 games he played in.  He also had the best reception % against (33.8%).  In 2022 he didn’t allow a TD all year and had 16 forced incompletions for the year.   This is why the signing of Jonathan Jones is so important.  I believe Jones can handle the Free Safety duties, replacing Devin McCourty.  Witherspoon could be that shutdown corner we have been looking for.  He is too good a value to pass up.  I am not sure the OT’s available at this point could even start in the NFL right away.

#46         Cody Mauch LT North Dakota State

He has played in over 60 games for the Bison.   He is 6’4.6” 303 lbs and runs a 5.02 40-yard dash.  He has quick feet but does not have not the height or girth you look for at Left Tackle.

#76         Isaiah Foskey Edge Notre Dame

He stands 6’5”, 265 lbs and runs a 4.77 40-yard dash.  Foskey has had 11 sacks in each of the last two seasons and 26.5 for his career.  That is a new school record.  He also had 14 Tackles For Loss in 2022.

#97         Christopher Smith FS Georgia

He stands 5’ 10”, 195 lbs and runs a 4.48 40-yard dash.  Walter Camp 1st team and all-conference in SEC.  Double up on DBs.  No true backup at FS.

#107      Kendre Miller RB TCU

6’, 220 lbs, and ran 4.42.   Miller ran for 1399 yards, 6.2 yards per carry, and 17 TDs.  He was underutilized in the passing game but is very capable.  Has the size and strength to pick up blitzes.  Miller is also young as he won’t turn 21 until this summer.

#117      Terry Palmer WR Nebraska

Not the typical WR school.  Palmer is 5’ 10″, 190 lbs, and ran a 4.45.  In 2022 he had 1,043 yards receiving, the most in a single season at Nebraska.  His 71 receptions were the most by a WR in the school’s history.

$190       Ricky Stromberg OC Arkansas

He stands 6’3”, 313 lbs, and ran a 5.2.  Stromberg led the Razorbacks’ O-line which led the nation in rushing.  The coaches in the SEC selected him for the Jacobs Blocking Trophy and the best blocking lineman.  He was 1st team in all SEC.  David Andrews is having trouble staying healthy and getting up there in age.

#211      Carter Warren OT Pittsburgh

He battled an injury in 2022 and may need a red-shirt year.  He is the prototypical Tackle size at 6’5”, 325 lbs. 5.23 40.  He has started 40 games at LT.  Draft and stash.

#230      Carlton Martial LB Troy

The Little Big Man stands 5’8” and 210 lbs, running a 4.76 40.  All he does is tackle!  He set a new FBS record with 563 tackles for his career.  He was twice a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy.  This is awarded to a player that was a walk-on and through his play inspired others.  Martial lost to Georgia QB Stetson Bennet this year.  In HS he had 300 tackles combined for his Junior and Senior seasons.  He led his HS team to two straight Alabama state championships.  Martial was 1st team in all Sun Belt Conference all 4 years.

East-West shrine game

Patriots Defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington will be the Defensive Coordinator and Troy Brown the Head Coach.

Coaches Interviewed

The Offensive Coordinator coaching interviews appear to be complete with Bill O’Brien still the most likely selection.  However, a few twists have been reported.  It appears that Jerod Mayo is taking on the role of assistant to the head coach and is sitting in on the OC interviews.

Another thing reported over the weekend is that some of these coaches that were interviewed may join the staff anyway.  Adrian Klemm is being mentioned as a possible O-line coach.  Keenan McCardell (whom I identified incorrectly last week as the WR coach for Jacksonville Jaguars.  He is the former jaguars WR coach.  He now coaches the Minnesota Vikings WR) was the other name mentioned as possibly joining the team anyway.

Comings and Goings

The Patriots signed Olakunle Fatukasi LB.  The former Rutgers Scarlett Knight,s stands 6’2” 240 lbs, and runs a 4.79 40.  He was undrafted in 2022 and signed with Tampa Bay.  He made their 53-man roster out of camp and played in 13 games before being waived in early December.  Denver jumped on him and signed him to their Practice Squad.   When the season ended Fatukasi chose not to sign a Futures contract with Denver, thus becoming a free agent.  The Patriots signed him to a Futures contract.  At Rutgers, he played in 12 games as a true freshman and another 11 games as a sophomore.  In the 2019 season, he started 10 games at weakside LB.  In the COVID season of 2020, Fatukasi led the Big 10 in tackles.  In 2021, the COVID exemption year, he switched to Inside LB and made the third team all-Big 10 despite missing several games with injuries.  He was named a Captain for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

Posted Under: 2023 Patriots Mock Drafts
Tags: 2023 Patriots Mock Draft Patriots Mock Draft

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    Michael P. McGrath
    Michael P. McGrath
    1 year ago

    You sure are a productive writer! Could the missing draft pick be our own 4th rounder? As to RB – doesn’t Pierre Strong fit that bill? Why draft another receiving RB only to redshirt him for his rookie year after just doing that? OT is the primary need after OT! But, if you can get a more highly rated shut down CB at #14 – go for it!

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