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Grading the Patriots’ 2023 NFL Draft

The Patriots fill some needs, but continue to make some odd choices.

Kayshon Boutte of Louisiana State participates in the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Patriots missed the playoffs last year in a disappointing season where they went 8-9 and appeared clueless at times offensively. They hopefully rectified some of the offensive trouble by bringing Bill O’Brien in as the offensive coordinator, but they also needed help on the offensive line and at wide receiver to help out QB Mac Jones.

Let’s see how they did.

Patriots picks

Round 1: No. 17 (from Steelers): Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Round 2: No. 46: Keion White, DE, Georgia Tech
Round 3: No. 76 (from Panthers) — Marte Mapu, LB/S, Sacramento State
Round 4: No. 107 (from Rams) — Jake Andrews, C, Troy
Round 4: No. 112 (from Jets) Chad Ryland, PK, Maryland —
Round 4: No. 117 — Sidy Sow, OG, Eastern Michigan
Round 4: No. 135 — Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue
Round 5: No. 144 (from Falcons through Raiders) — Atonio Mafi, OG, UCLA
Round 6: No. 187 (from Panthers) — Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
Round 6: No. 192: Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State
Round 6: No. 210 — Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty
Round 6: No. 214 (from Raiders) — Ameer Speed, CB, Michigan State
Round 7: No. 245 — Isaiah Bolden, DB, Jackson State University

Grade: C

The Patriots made some strong picks along with some head-scratchers. Thankfully their best pick came in the first round, which is where they needed to make their best pick.

Did the Patriots fill needs?

With the first pick, the Patriots drafted cornerback Christian Gonzalez, which was a value at where they got him and filled a big hole in the secondary. Grabbing DE Keion White in the second round filled a need, but I’d liked if they got to offensive line earlier in the draft.

They did get around to OL, when they drafted center Jake Andrews, but Andrews was still a bit of a reach at that point. There were better options available, as Belichick and company chose a consistent, but limited Andrews.

Then of course there was kicker Chad Ryland in the fourth and punter Bryce Baringer. Sure, they may work out and prove many wrong, but history shows us that the best punters and kickers usually end up being undrafted and signed later for better deals that what you have to give to a rookie draft pick.

They did finally pick a wide receiver in Round 6 when they took Kayshon Boutte, who fell due to off-field concerns. The talent is there, so if Belichick can get the most out of him, this could be a strong pick, but only time will tell.

Fantasy prospects?

The Patriots didn’t take a fantasy prospect until Boutte in the sixth and then another receiver, Demario Douglas later in the sixth. Boutte has upside to be a good starter if all things go well, while Douglas could be a sneaky good speedster, could work his way into a fantasy role. But there’s no doubt they didn’t invest high draft capital into the pair. The good news is that they don’t have much competition.

Best pick?

Gonzalez was easily the best pick, as they got a little extra draft capital trading with the Steelers and still got a top cornerback at a discount.