The Patriots will be drafting one spot higher in 2023 than when they last missed the playoffs in the 2020-21 season when Mac Jones was selected 15th overall. The Patriots need help at a few positions but with the possibility of losing Jakobi Meyers to free agency the Patriots should take a flyer on a few players they could select in the first couple of rounds in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
First Round (14th Overall)
Under Belichick, the Patriots have only selected a wide receiver once in the first round and have struggled drafting receivers. N’Keal Harry was the only first-round pick and the Patriots shipped him out of Foxboro three years later. Julian Edelman was the best receiver BB has drafted, but he was in the seventh round and was a diamond in the rough, like Tom Brady. If the Patriots decide to take a receiver at 14 there are a few options that seem to be exactly what the Patriots could use from a few different perspectives.
At 14 there are three prospects who could be sitting there in the middle of the first round. Starting first with Jordan Addison out of USC who is arguably the best receiver in the draft depending on what you want out of him. The Junior transfer to USC from the way of Pittsburgh last spring was the Biletnikoff Award winner in 2021 for the nation’s top receiver.
Jordan Addison's change of direction ability is pretty special. He gets so low when he breaks, keeps his chest flat too, doesn't give any indication of what's about to happen pic.twitter.com/h4KCvockd1
— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) November 26, 2022
Addison is a threat all over the field. He split time at Pittsburgh and USC lined up all over the field. His route-running ability is something that you want from a receiver who is just six feet tall but he plays bigger than his frame. He can go down the field and make contested catches while also having the ability to run short and intermediate routes as well.
Jordan Addison is one of the safest picks in this class for fantasy rookie drafts.
Should hear his name called in the NFL 1st round.
20 years old with 219 career receptions, 29 TDs & 3134 yards- at two different schools: Pitt and USC. pic.twitter.com/o3ltKIR874
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) January 24, 2023
He is ranked as the number three receiver in the draft but he is by far the most pro-ready receiver because of his tools. He is remarkably like Devonte Smith of the Eagles just has a little bit bigger of a frame.
#USC WR Jordan Addison is a master at creating separation.
6’0 175 lbs – one of the elite route runners in this class. He will be open early and often in the NFL.
Runs a beautiful whip route here:
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 23, 2023
Another player who will be there at 14 is Zay Flowers from Boston College. Flowers is a unique receiver as he is on the smaller side but he is impossible to stop when he gets the ball in his hands. He would be a perfect fit for this offense as he does run the route tree very well but he dominates at running short and intermediate routes.
.@BCFootball wide receiver shows his speed in his first @ShrineBowl practice.@ezlazar takes a look at Zay Flowers’s day in Vegas: https://t.co/3jATCZOBpB
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 30, 2023
For New England, they could use him similarly to how they used Marcus Jones this year but Flowers is far more diverse of a receiver than Jones. Flowers ability in the open field is truly something special. He is the most elusive receiver out there and was the only bright spot for a poor BC team in 2022. He finished as BC’s all-time leader in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
Zay Flowers makes his @ShrineBowl debut as Patriots coaches take practice to the next level.
Recapping Day 2 in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/0gYu9c3yAn
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 30, 2023
He is a projected first-round pick and could be a stretch at 14 but he would fit in seamlessly in this offense. As a team who struggled to move the ball this season in the passing game, Flowers ability to make plays would be an immediate impact. The only question mark is his size but he already showed he can play against elite talent at the college level.
Flowers is being coached by the Patriots coaching staff this week in Las Vegas at the Shiners Bowl so that could be an interesting thing to watch.
Johnston, who quite possibly could be the first receiver to go, could be at 14 for the Patriots depending on what other teams are looking for. He is projected as the 12th overall to the Texans. He is the most physically gifted out of all the wide receivers in the draft standing at a massive six feet four inches tall and 215 pounds. He has 4.4 speed and a 42-inch vertical which makes him the freak of this draft.
TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston has everything to be a dominant pass catcher in the NFL.
He can make things happen at the catch point, with the ball in his hands and by winning at the LOS.pic.twitter.com/cdV8lcRJN1
— Luca Sartirana (@SartiranaLuca) December 22, 2022
The only knock on him is he did struggle with drops in college, which a lot of players do so focus is something that needs to be attended to. At TCU he was split outside of the numbers 492 out of his 586 snaps this past season so he really is just a big play threat but at that size, there are few players in the NFL who can compete with him.
TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston has flat-out insane ball skills.
Top-tier deep threat who consistently makes plays even when doubled. He has everything needed to become a high-quality NFL primary WR. pic.twitter.com/6gcAdrtOun
— Luca Sartirana (@SartiranaLuca) January 16, 2023
He finished as one of only thirty players who have over a thousand yards receiving this past year as he was utilized way more in Sonny Dykes offense. He almost doubles his production from a year ago on his way to helping TCU reach the National Championship game.
TCU WR Quentin Johnston (6-4, 215) clocks 21.0 mph. #ReelSpeed pic.twitter.com/XYSkvXgwUC
— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) January 1, 2023
Day Two Selections (Second Round 46th, Third Round 76th)
The Ohio State standout was one of the top receivers in the country last season and dealt with a few injuries that held him out of all but three games this past year. He only had five catches this year but in 2021 he led the Buckeyes in receiving, which had Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in the receiving corps.
My #1 WR prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft:
Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
6’0 197lbs 4.4 40
A polished route runner with serious after the catch playmaking ability.
Get this… 94 catches 1,606 yards as the #3 WR behind Olave and Wilson last year..
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) June 27, 2022
Smith-Njigba may be the safest pick out of all the receivers as he has phenomenal ball skills catching nine of 10 contested balls in 2021, he has decent size at 6’1”, and is one of the best route runners coming into this year’s draft. He will be a quality slot receiver for whoever drafts him and if he does end up in New England he will fit in right where Jakobi Meyers left off if Meres decided to leave in free agency.
Washington may not be one of the top names in the draft but he will be selected on day two for sure. Depending on if the Patriots wanted to select him with a second-round pick to ensure they can get him he may very well be there at 76th overall in the third round.
Parker Washington is a WR in a RB’s body.
With what we’ve seen from ARSB, Parker could climb up the draft boards as we get closer to April. pic.twitter.com/7xR7ni3Sb7
— Charlie Friar (@CharlieFriar) January 27, 2023
Washington is another receiver who can do it all. Although he played mostly slot at Penn State, he is a stockier player at 5’10” and 215 pounds. He is a physical player for sure breaking 31 tackles on 110 catches the last two seasons and catching 11 out of 17 contested passes over twenty yards as well.
PARKER WASHINGTON FLOATED TO THE BALL 😱 pic.twitter.com/yozSmEI2xE
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 23, 2022
I think if the Patriots were to select him, we would be a plug-and-play guy right away as his talents will carry over to the next level for sure. Washington had the eighth-highest PFF rating out of all draft-eligible receivers in 2022.
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