Patriots Go Defense In Round 1 Of Mel Kiper’s Latest NFL Mock Draft

New England needs help at several positions


Apr 11, 2023

The Patriots haven’t used a first-round pick on a defensive back since 2010 when they drafted the now-retired Devin McCourty at No. 27 overall.

As it stands, Mel Kiper Jr. sees New England bucking that trend April 27.

Kiper on Tuesday put out his latest 2023 NFL mock draft and the veteran analyst had the Patriots using the 14th overall pick on Christian Gonzalez, a cornerback out of Oregon.

“If the Patriots don’t trade down to acquire more capital, I see corner or wideout as the position to target here,” Kiper wrote. “On offense, new coordinator Bill O’Brien has to get quarterback Mac Jones turned around after a disastrous 2022. The additions of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki in free agency will help, but there’s room for another really good outside wideout. Cornerback, though, is a position of strength in this class, and Gonzalez has a chance to go in the top 10. The 6-foot-1 defender picked off four passes for the Ducks last season.”

Cornerback definitely is an area of need for the Patriots, who appear primed to move Jalen Mills to safety in 2023. The recently re-signed Jonathan Jones, who thrived as a corner in 2022, also could see his role expanded as New England tries to backfill McCourty.

If not cornerback, wide receiver and offensive tackle make sense as positions the Patriots could target in Round 1. New England reportedly is also interested in drafting a “blue-chip” running back later this month.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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