The NFL Draft is now under three weeks away. Teams have started to fill out their rosters in free agency and are now looking toward the draft to fill any other holes. For the Patriots, they still have multiple major needs. There are questions at wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback, and more. As we hear more about potential Patriots targets in the draft, we start to see a better picture of how they might approach it. One way or another, holes need to be filled and they need to hit on these picks. Take look at Couture’s 2023 Patriots Mock Draft 3.0.
With Jaxon Smith-Njigba off the board at #14, the Patriots slide back two spots and take my WR2 of the class. Zay Flowers spent his college days just north of Foxborough so he already comes with a connection to the New England area. On the field, Flowers is dynamic, versatile, and electric with the ball in his hands. He’s a nightmare to cover in short-yardage situations and has the speed to burn defenders deep. The Patriots spent time with Flowers at the Shrine Bowl and he also recently made a pre-draft visit to New England where he reportedly spent extensive time with the offensive staff working through the Patriots’ playbook.
The Patriots continue to invest around QB Mac Jones by adding the dynamic running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Former Alabama and current Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien spent the past season using Gibbs all around the Alabama offense. Gibbs has been compared to Saints RB Alvin Kamara and for good reason, as he is an all-around running back with the versatility to line up as a wide receiver too. Running back isn’t a high need in New England and many might not like the idea of taking one early, but in the end, talent always prevails and creates success in the NFL. Gibbs brings that.
Breaking down the film on Jahmyr Gibbs 🎥@AlabamaFTBL | @Jahmyr_Gibbs1
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
📱: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/nFBycz7Dkm
The Patriots add an aggressive cornerback in Kyu Blue Kelly out of Stanford with their third-round selection. At 6 feet tall and 191 pounds, Kelly brings top-corner potential with experience shadowing some of the best corners in college football. He needs to become a bit more disciplined but with proper development, he brings great potential.
With the selection added from the Commanders’ trade, the Patriots finally snag a tackle. Tyler Steen would come to New England with familiarity as he worked with Bill O’Brien this past season after transferring from Vanderbilt. With that, comes familiarity the other way around as well. The Patriots should have the upper hand to know what Steen can be as an NFL player long-term. He likely isn’t a day-one starter, but between O’Brien and new OL coach Adrian Klemm, I believe they can develop Steen into a consistent starter in the NFL.
Brandon Joseph is one of three players from my Patriots Mock Draft 2.0 that stays the same. The reason is simple, the fit is great. Since my last mock, we learned that Devin McCourty will retire and Jalen Mills will be moving to safety. Though Mills has prior experience at safety, the Patriots should not deem that position complete. Adding a long-term option like Joseph is still the most logical path. Joseph is a high IQ and leader of the defense type of player. A great replacement for McCourty.
Jaquelin Roy makes his second appearance on my Patriots mock drafts and since my last one, has further convinced me this could happen. Roy has reportedly made a pre-draft visit to New England and met with the defensive staff. He is a bit raw as he had limited starting time at LSU, but Roy is built to contribute early on in the NFL and could prove to be a great pickup to pair next to Christian Barmore.
🚨#LSU standout defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy has met on top 30 visits with the Philadelphia #Eagles, Dallas #Cowboys, Green Bay #Packers, Buffalo #Bills, per league sources.
The New England #Patriots, Miami #Dolphins, Tennessee #Titans, and Jacksonville #Jaguars at his Pro… pic.twitter.com/CfdRUNIoUW
YaYa Diaby is my last return from my Patriots Mock Draft 2.0, though just at a later spot. Diaby would bring a boost of athleticism to the Patriots and could develop into a consistent three-down edge rusher with the proper coaching.
Heading into the NFL Combine, Andrew Vorhees was viewed as an early to mid-round pick. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL during the combine and will likely miss the entire 2023 season. The Patriots love value and they use a sixth-round pick to stash Vorhees and potentially get a long-term steal. He has experience at both guard spots and limited time at left tackle.
Patriots take a late-round swing at LB by selecting Utah’s Mohamoud Diabate. He offers solid versatility with the ability to play in multiple spots. Diabete brings coverage skills and sideline-to-sideline speed. The Patriots should have a good feel for the type of player that Diabate could become as he was another Shrine Bowl participant working with the entire Patriots staff.
The Patriots use the final selection that they recently acquired in the Jonnu Smith trade to select Florida WR Justin Shorter. The fifth-year senior also attended the Shrine Bowl, where the Patriots staff spent over a week working with players. Shorter is a big body with long arms and has the ability to use his size and strength to beat defenders. He won’t burn by you, and his draft stock matches the limited output he had in college, but Shorter shows the upside as a player to become a late-round steal.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON TO JUSTIN SHORTER pic.twitter.com/akk6WaK4HG
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