One way or another, the Patriots must add an offensive tackle during the offseason.
ESPN’s Todd McShay believes they’ll do so in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Isaiah Wynn has been a disaster this season and is set to become a free agent. And Trent Brown, with one year left on his current contract, has been better but also has endured his typical combination of injuries and inconsistency. The unreliability of the two tackles, and of New England’s offensive line as a whole, has been a major factor in the glaring regression of sophomore quarterback Mac Jones.
In his first 2023 NFL mock draft, McShay predicted the Patriots will use the 15th overall pick on Georgia tackle Broderick Jones. If the season ended today, New England would own the 21st pick in the draft.
“Simply put, the Patriots won’t find significant success with Mac Jones at quarterback if they can’t keep him upright,” McShay wrote Tuesday morning. “They’ve allowed 32 sacks and posted a 57.8% pass block win rate this season — both registering as 19th best in the NFL. Jones has the size, quick feet and upper-body strength to improve this unit. He hasn’t allowed a single sack this season in 13 starts at left tackle, and Isaiah Wynn is on an expiring contract, so there will be a need at one of the team’s tackle spots in the offseason.”
Jones, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound native of Lithonia, Ga., redshirted in 2020 but was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2021. This season, he’s emerged as a dominant force on the Bulldogs’ offensive line and widely is viewed as one of the top five offensive tackles available in the draft.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Jones will be available when New England picks in the first round. Nor does anyone at this point have any clue what any team will do in the draft.
But the Patriots absolutely need help at offensive tackle, and a player of Jones’ caliber could fix things in a hurry.