Patriots Scouting These Top Prospects At Ohio State Pro Day

Three possible early-round targets for New England


March 22

The Patriots will get an up-close look Wednesday at three premium prospects at positions of need.

New England’s wide receivers coach and offensive line coach were among the NFL evaluators credentialed to attend Ohio State’s pro day, according to a report Tuesday from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

Buckeyes wideout Jaxon Smith-Njibga has a chance to be the first wide receiver taken in next month’s 2023 NFL Draft, and teammates Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones both are among this year’s top offensive tackle prospects.

Breer’s report didn’t specify which Patriots assistants were attending. Troy Brown and Ross Douglas both coached receivers last season. Adrian Klemm was hired last month to coach New England’s O-line, with Billy Yates expected to remain on staff to assist him.

A total of five Patriots evaluators were scheduled to attend Wednesday’s workout, according to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy.

Smith-Njibga and Johnson both are possible targets for the Patriots at pick No. 14 overall.

The former is coming off an injury-shortened junior season but was fantastic in 2021 — headlined by a 15-catch, 347-yard, three-touchdown bonanza in the Rose Bowl against Utah — and had a terrific showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Patriots signed wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster and receiving-focused tight end Mike Gesicki last week, but they still could use another passing-game weapon for quarterback Mac Jones.

They also need stability at tackle with projected starters Trent Brown and Riley Reiff both carrying injury risk and entering contract years. Johnson, who started at right guard for Ohio State in 2021 before switching to left tackle, is a projected first-round pick who could go as high as the top 10. He measured in at 6-foot-6, 313 pounds at the combine, and scouting reports praise his athleticism.

Jones is two inches taller and more than 60 pounds heavier (6-8, 374), making him one of the largest players in this draft class. He was OSU’s starting right tackle for the last two seasons; did not allow a sack in 2022, per Pro Football Focus; and has been compared to the similarly massive Brown. Most projections peg Jones as a second-round pick.’s latest Patriots mock draft had New England taking him at No. 46 overall.

Thumbnail photo via Joshua A. Bickel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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