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New England Patriots mock draft 2023: Building a team around Mac Jones

The New England Patriots became one of the best NFL dynasties ever thanks to strong draft classes that helped win multiple Super Bowl titles. Now without a postseason victory in the last four years, New England needs the 2023 NFL Draft to avoid long-term changes.

Led by Bill Belichick, the Patriots draft classes have delivered mixed results. While there have been discovered gems like Rhamondre Stevenson, Josh Uche and Kyle Dugger, the likes of N’Keal Harry, Sony Michel and Joeuan Williams proved to be draft busts.

Before diving into our Patriots mock draft, here’s everything you need to know before draft day.

New England Patriots draft picks 2023

Here are the Patriots’ draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Round 1: 14th overall
  • Round 2: 46th overall
  • Round 3: 76th overall
  • Round 4: 107th overall
  • Round 4: 117th overall
  • Round 4: 135th overall
  • Round 6: 184th overall
  • Round 6: 187th overall
  • Round 6: 192nd overall
  • Round 6: 210th overall
  • Round 7: 245th overall

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

New England Patriots draft needs 2023

After NFL free agency, here are the Patriots’ draft needs entering the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Wide Receiver
  • Offensive Tackle
  • Cornerback
  • Edge Rusher
  • Linebacker
  • Defensive Line

Related: New England Patriots assistant identified as likely Bill Belichick successor

New England Patriots mock draft

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Focus

First round, 14th pick: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa

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Spending a first-round pick on a pass rusher might not seem like the best usage of New England’s limited draft capital. However, great NFL defenses have a high-end No. 3 edge rusher they can rotate in to keep everyone fresh. Plus, Matthew Judon will be 32 years old when the 2024 season rolls around and there’s a chance New England could cut him ($10.5 million cap savings).

Related: New England Patriots star says locker room was divided in 2022

Lukas Van Ness is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. The 6-foot-5 edge rusher posted a 9.38 Relative Athletic Score at the NFL Scouting Combine, putting him in a tier of athletic comparables with Preston Smith, Jared Allen and Trey Hendrickson.

Belichick’s coaching staff has a strong track record of developing edge defenders. For Van Ness, that means hands-on teaching to help correct his body positioning, how to use his hands and direction for a new array of pass-rush moves. At his peak, Van Ness can make the Pro Bowl.

Second Round, 46th pick: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

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It’s back-to-back defensive picks in our Patriots mock draft, something that would likely make Belichick happy. While New England re-signed Jonathan Jones, he only received a two-year deal. It keeps cornerback as one of the long-term Patriots draft needs.

Garrett Williams isn’t ready to be a Week 1 starter, but New England doesn’t necessarily require that. The 5-foot-10 cornerback is recovering from a torn ACL, but when healthy he tracked wide receivers in man coverage like some of the best in college football. Already offering great footwork, sound technique and quality athleticism, all the Patriots’ coaching staff will have to do is get Williams to be even more of a bulldog in coverage.

Third Round, 76th pick: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU

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Making our way to the offense, New England is set at offensive tackle in 2023 but the starters are temporary. Trent Brown will be a free agent next spring and it’s highly unlikely Riley Reiff sticks around in a Patriots’ uniform beyond the upcoming season.

Related: New England Patriots linked to Lamar Jackson

Blake Freeland is the long-term answer. The 6-foot-8 offensive tackle surrendered just four hurries and three quarterback hits in 462 pass-blocks snaps last year at BYU (PFF). However, he lacks the strength and technique to see the field early in his rookie season. Christensen can spend his 2023 campaign learning from Billy Yates before potentially becoming a starter in 2024.

4th Round, 107th pick: Parker Washington, WR, Penn State

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It wouldn’t be a Patriots mock draft without giving them a wide receiver. Bill O’Brien needs playmakers for Mac Jones. More specifically, this offense requires wide receivers who can turn short completions into big plays. Enter Penn State’s Parker Washington.

Washington made his living with the Nittany Lions’ offense in the slot. Most critically for New England, the 5-foot-10 offensive weapon is an excellent YAC threat, both demonstrating the ability to make defenders miss after securing the football and even fighting through tackles over the middle.

At times, it feels like Washington belongs in the NFL from years ago when receivers needed to make acrobatic catches over the middle and could play through collisions. While that’s less common today, it should remind New England of many of its greats who thrived in the slot. While some fans might prefer the Patriots spend a first-round pick on a wide receiver, snagging Washington in Round 4 highlights why some teams are comfortable waiting.

New England Patriots 7-round mock draft

  • 1st Round, 14th overall: Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
  • 2nd Round, 46th overall: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
  • 3rd Round, 76th overall: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU
  • 4th Round, 107th overall: Parker Washington, WR, Penn State
  • 4th Round, 117th overall: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas
  • 4th Round, 135th overall: Davis Allen, TE, Clemson
  • 6th Round, 184th overall: Chandler Zavala, iOL, North Carolina State
  • 6th Round, 187th overall: Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue
  • 6th Round, 192nd overall: Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina
  • 6th Round, 210th overall: Lonnie Phelps, EDGE, Kansas
  • 7th Round, 245th overall: Tyreque Jones, S, Boise State

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