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New England Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft

New England Patriots Free Agency Recap 

The Patriots missed out on playoffs after barely sneaking in the year before. This year the Patriots finished 14th overall with the eighth-best defense and the 20th-ranked offense. The offense took a  disappointing step back with Mac Jones at the helm. On top of that, the Patriots also lost Damian Harris, Jakobi Myers, Nelson Agholor, and Jonnu Smith. Fans should not be too down with the loss of Harris. Rhamondre Stevenson has shown and proven to be a reliable and productive runner with a good track record of staying healthy compared to Harris. The Patriots also made a clear upgrade at tight end with Mike Gesicki. Upgrading from Jonnu Smith who at times showed promise, but could never fully reach his potential with the Patriots.

The departure of Myers and Agholor will also hurt. Agholor had spurts at times but seemed to be used as a decoy and missed out on converting some of those deep 50/50 balls. To fill this hole, they brought in JuJu Smith-Schuster. The man known for his TikTok antics off the field spilling onto the field was an interesting signing. Bill Belichick does not stand for such antics and has a track record of getting so-called “distractions” back in line and being extremely productive. Smith-Schuster is coming off a surprising performance in Super Bowl LVII. Though he didn’t score, Smith-Schuster was Patrick Mahomes’ favorite target on a key drive late in the game.

Overall, Smith-Schuster had 78 receptions and 933 yards while only finding the endzone three times. Though this was far from his best, he progressed and showed signs of what got him drafted. With an actual offensive coordinator at the helm in Bill O’Brien, Smith-Schuster and Gesicki’s strengths will be utilized to the fullest. The last time O’Brien was at the helm for the Patriot’s offensive play calling, the Patriots ranked third in points scored. Last season the Patriots ranked 16th. Hopefully, they can return to their former success on offense.

I almost forgot to mention their defense. Consistently being one of the best in the league, the Patriots kept and resigned some key pieces despite the departure of the decorated and influential leader Devin McCourty. The Patriots brought back Mack Wilson, Jalen Mills, Jabrill Peppers, and most importantly resigned breakout corner Jonathan Jones. Though the Patriots didn’t lose any major pieces, they do need to build consistency on the edge as at points there was a lack of it.

Positions that Need to be Addressed

The major needs for the Patriots entering the 2023 NFL Draft include offensive tackle, wide receiver, defensive end, and secondary. Though the addition of Riley Reiff is something to be interested in, Reiff has performed adequately over the past couple of years and definitely brings help and consistency. He is not the long-term answer though. The Patriots also lack a true number-one wide receiver. Though Tyquan Thorton is expected to step up into that role, the rest of the receiving room is questionable. This draft class is tilted heavily toward decent wide receiver two and three options in this draft.

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots need to look to solidify the pass rash and add some consistency for years to come. Early on it makes it difficult to determine if Bill Belichick will choose to beef up his offensive line or go defensive.

Mock Draft

Round 1: Pick 14 – Paris Johnson Jr.

Paris Johnson Jr. is a tackle who can bring consistency and physicality to the Patriots’ offensive line. However, we have to remember who the GM is, Bill Belichick. Belichick has a flair for the dramatics and trading back. You can never truly know who Belichick will pick if he is even going to stay and pick at 14. I cannot see him passing up on a great tackle like Johnson, but what do I know I am just a fan. Belichick could also look to go with talented defensive end Nolan Smith or cornerback Christian Gonzalez if one of them falls to 14.

Round 2: Pick 46 – Nathaniel Dell

Dell lacks the height and body to take over-the-middle passes making him a liability. His speed and ability to create space up the seam make him a valuable chess piece. It also allows him to be everywhere on the field. O’Brien can use him like Julian Edelman or Wes Welker for Mac Jones.  QB’s track record with those types of receivers gives a favorable outlook on their performance.

Round 3: Pick 76Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson

THT, as he is known, is only 5’8″ but you would not know it from the way he plays fast downhill. His number speak for themselves. Belichick is all about putting in the hard work and does not care about size too much. THT brings hit power and disruption along with great zone presence. Though the Patriots run mostly man, Belichick would find a way to utilize this and minimize the disadvantage caused by THT’s height.

Round 4: Pick 107 – Viliami Fehoko

Fehoko has shown growth over the last couple of years at San Jose State. He has the ability to not only rush the passer but also stop the run outside. On tap this past year it seemed like he was a man amongst boys. Falling to the Patriots at 107 is a steal and will greatly help them solidify the edge going forward.

Round 4: Pick 117 – Anthony Johnson Jr.

This pick was between Anthony Johnson and Dorian Williams for me. However, with the retirement of Devin McCourty, I leaned toward safety. Johnson despite it only being his first year in the position showed comfortability like a seasoned pro. I cannot imagine what it will be like when he is fully comfortable in that position. With instincts like that, I can’t think of anyone better to take over for one of New England’s favorite sons.

Round 4: Pick 135 – Marte Mapu

Though he played safety in college Mapu has a similar build to linebacker just like Kyle Dugger does. At 6’3″ 216, he has the size and PFF gave him an 85.8 in run defense. A safety who is used to seeing the field can excel when being told this is your assignment. With the size and speed, Mapu would fit right in, with the ability to fill in if the injury bug creeps back up.

Round 6: Pick 184 Lonnie Phelps

Another guy who at Kansas increased his ability to get to the passer. Bringing in another depth guy who has the potential to be a solid role player and could transition to linebacker as he had a 4.55 40-yard dash time.

Round 6: Pick 187 Jonah Tavai

The Patriots bring in another defensive tackle that can not only stop the run but also get pressure on the quarterback. Tavai is a good depth DT if the injury bug hits the Pats once again.

Round 6: Pick 192Jose Ramirez

Ramirez like Phelps has potential due to his size and explosiveness and could prove to be a better linebacker in today’s NFL than a defensive end. With that though he can still rush the passer well and could even show more improvement.

Round 7: Pick 210 Levi Bell

Bell is once again a solid defensive tackle backup. Though he might be a little undersized, he proved in 2022 he could stop the run and take up space in the middle of a defense. In the Patriot’s defense, you have to do your job. Being able to occupy two linemen so your linebackers or edge guys can make a play is huge and could lead to an improvement in an already really good Patriots defense.


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