NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots Taking ‘Close Look’ At These Prospects

Wideout is among New England's most pressing needs


Apr 13, 2023

If the Patriots want to mend fences with Mac Jones, drafting a wide receiver in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft would be a step in the right direction.

No, New England hasn’t had success finding wideout talent in the early rounds of drafts over the course of the Bill Belichick era. But all of the top free-agent receiving options are off the board at this point and it doesn’t seem like the Patriots are primed for a blockbuster trade to bolster the position group. At some point, New England is going to need to draft and effectively build up a homegrown receiver.

There’s no guarantee it happens April 27. But if the Patriots elect to go the WR route in Round 1, it might be one of the two prospects NFL analyst Jordan Reid mentioned in an ESPN column published Thursday.

“New England has shown interest in the top wideouts in this class, though it might not take one in Round 1,” Reid wrote. “That includes Zay Flowers (Boston College), whom the team hosted on a top-30 visit and coached at the East-West Shrine Bowl. I’ve heard the Patriots are also taking a closer look at Jordan Addison (USC) and Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss).”

The Patriots hosted both Addison and Mingo for a pre-draft visit in Foxboro. In his latest 2023 mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr. had the USC product going off the board at No. 21 to the Los Angeles Chargers, while Mingo went 58th overall to the Dallas Cowboys. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 12) and Flowers (No. 17) were Kiper’s first two receivers selected.

Fortunately for New England, it might have a chance to target another pressing need at No. 14 and then try to land a receiver on Day 2. The reported consensus around the NFL is this year’s WR class isn’t as strong as analysts are making it out to be.

Thumbnail photo via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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