Patriots Swing Trade With Raiders, Move Down To Draft O-Lineman

He's a big, big guy


Apr 29, 2023

Two of the Patriots’ first three picks on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft were interior offensive linemen. And New England continued the trend with its first pick in the fifth round.

The Patriots on Friday swung a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to move out of the bottom of Round 4 and into Round 5 while also adding a sixth-round pick. And with the 144th overall pick in the draft, New England selected UCLA guard Atonio Mafi, whom Patriots coaches worked with at the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl.

A converted defensive lineman, the 6-foot-3 Mafi also played Rugby and weighs 338 pounds after reportedly playing at 411 pounds while on defense. Mafi was ranked as the 16th guard in Dane Brugler’s draft guide for The Athletic.

Here’s his summary:

“A one-year starter at UCLA, Mafi plugged in at left guard as a senior in head coach Chip Kelly’s diverse run offense. Recruited as a defensive lineman, he played two seasons at defensive tackle before transitioning to the offensive line in 2020. He made incremental improvements with each game the last two seasons at guard. Mafi has a rugby background with better-than-expected foot quickness, which allows him to fit his targets on the move with his length and body control. He relied on his stout base and strong hands/core to help mask his lack of refinement, both fundamentally and instinctually in college. Overall, NFL defenders will expose the raw areas of his game, but Mafi is a promising, heavy-handed mauler who looks to create movement with in-line power. Although he might need time on a practice squad, he has the talent worth developing in a power-based scheme.”

At the time of Mafi’s drafting, the Patriots weren’t scheduled to make any further picks in the fifth round. They were set to make four selections in the sixth round and one in the seventh.

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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