It’s become a bit of a mystery as to who the New England Patriots might select with the No. 14 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Bill Belichick and company should have no shortage of options. Though it has been reported they’re only considering two positions for the first round, the Patriots have done their homework on wide receivers, cornerbacks, offensive lineman, edge rushers and even tight ends. Given the wide array of players brought in on pre-draft visits, there’s really no way of knowing where New England will go.
This player comparison might give an inside look, however.
In Pro Football Focus’ list of pro-player comparisons for 2023’s top draft prospects, Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was matched to Patriots legend Julian Edelman. PFF, who rated Smith-Njigba as its No. 12 prospect, said of the 21-year-old: “If you don’t have a well-defined slot role in your offense, JSN isn’t worth a first-rounder. If you do, he should be your WR1.”
That’s promising news for the Patriots, who might have the most defined slot role in the entire NFL.
Smith-Njigba caught 90 passes for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns during a breakout campaign in 2021 before missing most of 2022 with a hamstring injury. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound slot receiver attended the NFL Scouting Combine and posted terrific times in the three-cone drill (6.57 seconds) and the short shuttle (3.93). He even made a trip to New England to visit his brother, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba, and spoke about a potential union with the Patriots.
The Patriots-related comparisons didn’t stop there, however. Ohio State center Luke Wypler drew a comp to David Andrews, Stanford wideout Michael Wilson — who visited New England — drew a comparison to newly signed target JuJu Smith-Schuster and Pittsburgh offensive lineman Carter Warren was comped to Yodny Cajuste.
Who knows, maybe one of those names will wind up becoming a Patriot.