Patriots Address Big Need In First Daniel Jeremiah NFL Mock Draft

The draft is just over three months away


Jan 20, 2023

The Patriots have a lot of holes to fill this offseason. At a minimum, New England must improve at offensive tackle, linebacker and receiver.

An underrated need: defensive back.

With or without Jonathan Jones, who will be a free agent this spring, the Patriots need to add another cornerback. Rookies Marcus Jones and Jack Jones impressed this season but are undersized and still unproven, and Jonathan Jones established himself as a very-good-but-not-elite corner. Myles Bryant is little more than solid, and Jalen Mills can’t stay on the field. There’s also uncertainty at safety, with Jabrill Peppers hitting free agency and Devin McCourty potentially set to retire.

In his first mock draft, Daniel Jeremiah has the Patriots using the 14th overall pick to kill two birds with one stone.

NFL Network’s draft czar predicted New England will select versatile Alabama defensive back Brian Branch in the first round. Branch is capable of playing both safety and corner, something that surely will endear him to Bill Belichick and company. And, of course, there’s the Alabama connection.

“Branch is one of my favorite players in this draft class,” Jeremiah wrote. “He’s an outstanding nickel defender with the versatility to move around the secondary.”

Branch stands at 6 feet and 195 pounds. He’s coming off a junior season that saw him rack up 90 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. The Georgia native is known as an aggressive but smart player.

Check out some of his highlights:

The 2023 NFL Draft is scheduled to start on Thursday, April 27.

Thumbnail photo via Andrew Wevers/USA TODAY Sports Images
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