Many believe the Patriots should use their first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select a franchise offensive tackle. And those people probably are right.
But Daniel Jeremiah remains convinced that Bill Belichick will use the 14th overall pick to draft a defensive back.
In his first mock draft, which was published a month ago, NFL Media’s draft expert said New England would take Alabama defensive back Brian Branch, who projects as a box safety in the pros. But Jeremiah shifted gears for his second mock draft, zeroing in on Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
“Bill Belichick nabs a height-weight-speed corner who can play the ball,” Jeremiah wrote Tuesday.
Gonzalez is listed at 6-foot-2, 201 pounds. He began his collegiate career in 2020 with Colorado but transferred to Oregon ahead of the 2022 season. As a Junior with the Ducks, Gonzalez racked up 50 tackles, four interceptions and seven pass breakups.
Check out some his highlights from last season:
Cornerback remains a big need for the Patriots this offseason, despite the presence of promising youngsters Jack and Marcus Jones.
With or without Jonathan Jones, who will hit free agency next month, New England must add a cornerback who can go toe-to-toe with some of the NFL’s top receivers. Bill Belichick’s defenses have done well against middling offenses the last few years, but it’s been a different story against teams like the Buffalo Bills.
Does that mean the Patriots should use their first-round pick on a cornerback? It’s debatable, but Jeremiah clearly believes Belichick and company ultimately will select a defensive back.