Saturday, September 10, 2022

New England Patriots 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, we will update our New England Patriots Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the New England Patriots from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Patriots:

CBS Sports - Wilson (9/7)

14. Clark Phillips III, CB, Utah

There aren't a lot of household names in the Patriots secondary, and while that doesn't mean this unit won't be good, they'll certainly miss J.C. Jackson, who signed with the Chargers in the offseason. Phillips isn't a physical freak, but he's a smart player who is rarely out of position and feels like someone who would thrive in Bill Belichick's system.

The Draft Network - Crabbs (9/5)

12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

New England finds themselves in an unenviable position—questions about whether their supporting cast for Mac Jones has regressed too much or not have lingered all offseason. Well, how about adding arguably the best route-runner in football to help fix that problem?

Jaxon Smith-Njigba's value to Ohio State was on clear display on Saturday night (even if Smith-Njigba's production wasn't) as the offense stumbled through a stretch of the game without their star receiver after a nasty hit on the sideline before an epic 95-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter put the game on ice for the Buckeyes.

Sporting News - Iyer (9/3)

14. Henry To'o To'o, LB, Alabama

The Patriots moved on from former Alabama star Dont'a Hightower, their long-time linebacking leader. To'oTo'o should have plenty of appeal in keeping up the defensive pipeline from Nick Sabana to Bill Belichick.

SI - Hanson (8/31)

12. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

Johnson started at right guard for the Buckeyes in 2021, but he will shift to his more natural left tackle position as Nicholas Petit-Frere's replacement. The former five-star recruit has outstanding size, length and movement skills. Even if the Patriots' early trade attempts of Isaiah Wynn have "yielded limited interest so far," the oft-injured tackle will be a free agent in '23.

The Athletic - Baumgardner/Tice (8/31)

15. Bryan Bresee, IDL, Clemson

Instead of reaching for someone outside the top 100 here, I decided to do the other thing Bill Belichick has long seemed fond of: sitting, waiting and drafting a top-10 talent outside the top 10. First, Bresee has to prove he's back after an ACL injury last year. If he does, there's no way he'll slide this far.

The Draft Network - Weissman (8/29)

12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

I honestly feel for Mac Jones. He is the type of quarterback who needs to be surrounded by strong talent and the Patriots have failed to do so at this point. They need a true No. 1 receiver and one falls to them here in this NFL mock draft.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an outstanding route-runner who flashes excellent separation quickness, understanding of leverage, and knows how to set up defenders. He may lack true vertical speed, but his ability to make defenders miss with the ball in his hands is outstanding and he is just a player who knows how to uncover and get open. He would provide Jones with a true weapon that he can rely on.

Pro Football Network - Fragozza (8/27)

12. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

All you need is one game to understand why Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a foolproof top-15 selection: The 2021 Rose Bowl. Against Utah, Smith-Njigba set the record for the most receiving yards by any player in a bowl game in college football history with 347 on 15 receptions, including three TDs. But more than that, Smith-Njigba paced two 2022 NFL Draft first-rounders, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, by over 500 yards in the same receiving room last season.

The issue is most of his production has come from the slot. Yet, with Olave and Wilson gone, Smith-Njigba should see more reps outside. Still, Justin Jefferson spent most of his collegiate career in the slot, and look how he turned out.

ESPN - Reid (8/25)

17. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

After playing out of position at guard last season, Johnson returns to his natural left tackle spot. A highly touted five-star recruit upon arriving to Columbus, he must show scouts that he has a much better feel at tackle. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, the junior blocker displays plenty of body control and the physicality necessary in spurts. With Isaiah Wynn scheduled to become a free agent after the season, offensive tackle could quickly become the top need for the Patriots.

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