Patriots Reportedly Will Do One Of Two Things With 14th Overall Pick

Neither choice would be a surprise


Mar 6, 2023

Many Patriots fans want New England to select a receiver in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Others might want a tight end, and there probably is a decent chunk that wouldn’t mind seeing Bill Belichick take a quarterback.

But what will the Patriots actually do with the 14th overall pick? Well, it might end up being a boring, predictably Belichickian outcome.

The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan on Saturday published a column containing a slew of sourced rumors on the Patriots. One of the notes: People around the NFL expect New England either to trade the 14th pick or use it to select an offensive tackle.

“The Patriots don’t know yet what they’ll do with the 14th overall pick, but league sources expect them to make an obvious choice come late April: draft an offensive tackle or trade back,” Callahan wrote. “The Pats currently roster one starting-caliber player at tackle and none are under contract past next season. Bill Belichick has spent his first pick on an offensive lineman five times, including twice in the last five years (Cole Strange in 2022 and Isaiah Wynn in 2018). Belichick is also famous for trading down, and in a draft with few blue-chip prospects at the top, he may see value in sliding back 10-12 spots to select a player of similar caliber later in the first round, such as Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., Tennessee’s Darnell Wright or North Dakota’s Cody Mauch.”

They might not be sexy, but drafting a tackle or trading the pick probably are the most logical strategies for the Patriots.

If Mac Jones is going to get back on track in Year 3, he’s going to need better pass protection than he saw in 2022. The Patriots offense won’t go anywhere if it continues receiving average-at-best play from its tackles. New England must take a tackle at some point in this draft, preferably earlier than later.

But the Patriots also must feel confident about the player they’re selecting at No. 14. Teams typically place first-round grades on roughly a dozen prospects each year. If New England doesn’t believe the player it wants is worthy of the No. 14 selection, it should trade down and either select that same player or one of similar quality while gaining additional picks. Belichick has done this time and time again during his tenure with the Patriots.

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

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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