New England Patriots insider provides insight on team’s plan with 14th overall pick

The New England Patriots finished the 2022 season with one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. Hiring offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is the first step toward improvement, but the 2023 NFL Draft will play an even bigger role in fixing this offense.

Despite some recent NFL trade rumors, New Englan is committed to quarterback Mac Jones. O’Brien was hired to help the young quarterback take a step forward in 2023, playing more like the standout rookie than the second-year player who struggled this past season.

Related: New England Patriots draft picks 2023

One of the biggest issues in regard to the Patriots’ personnel is the lack of playmakers in the offense. While Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers played well last season, they were the only standout skill players in New England.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, addressing wide receiver will be a challenge this offseason. Of the top NFL free agents in 2023, wideout is one of the shallowest positions. As for the trade market, acquiring DeAndre Hopkins is reportedly unlikely and a reunion with Brandin Cooks seems improbable with Bill Belichick at the helm.

Related: New England Patriots coaches were told ‘not to be too hard’ on Mac Jones

It leaves the 2023 draft class as the most viable option to upgrade the receiving corps. However, it seems Belichick likely won’t be spending a first-round pick on an offensive weapon.

Chad Graff of The Athletic covered the Patriots’ situation at wide receiver and provided some insight into what he has heard out of New England during the NFL Combine. Citing a team official and Belichick’s draft history, Graff explained why fans likely won’t see the Patriots draft a receiver with the 14th pick.

“The Patriots’ preference at this point would be to address the position with a veteran rather than using their first-round pick, No. 14 overall, on a receiver. Even if the league has become more devoted to the passing game and even if rookie receivers have produced at a high level (four rookies topped 800 receiving yards last season), Belichick’s preference has always been to use his most prized picks on other positions.

Chad Graff on the New England Patriots’ approach to wide receiver, NFL Draft

It’s likely not what fans want to hear, especially with Meyers potentially leaving in free agency. The 26-year-old receiver delivered his second consecutive 800-yard season, easily surpassing every other Patriots’ receiver.

If Cooks and Hopkins are off the table in terms of trade options and New England won’t spend its first-round pick on a receiver, Belichick will likely use the same strategy we saw in 2022. Based on the results from DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton, that doesn’t bode well for the Patriots’ receiving corps making significant improvements next season.

Related: New England Patriots’ Jakobi Meyers asking price revealed

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