The Patriots are in the midst of an incredibly crucial offseason as they try to get the sour taste of an 8-9 2022 campaign out of their mouth.
For the second time in three years, New England missed the postseason and will now pick in the top 15 of the NFL draft once again.
The NFL’s annual scouting combine will take place this week in Indianapolis, and the Patriots will get an up-close look at the abundance of young talent they could bring to Foxboro at this year’s draft. Below are five potential targets for New England:
Jordan Addison – WR, USC
Arguably the best wide receiver in the class, Jordan Addison looks to be a real option for the Patriots at pick #14. The 2021 Bilentnikoff Award winner is 6’0″, has A+ balance and route-running ability, and showed off his staunch play-making skills from coast-to-coast (literally) over the last two seasons at both Pittsburgh and USC.
USC WR Jordan Addison (6’0”, 174lbs) is ?????.
He’s an elite route runner. Watch him perfectly read his leverage on this boundary CB.
— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) January 27, 2023
New England’s offense is going through an overhaul this offseason with the addition of Bill O’Brien. They’ll be running a matchup-centric, “win from the slot” style of football – which makes Addison’s skillset a perfect fit.
Joey Porter Jr. – CB, Penn State
If the Patriots want to improve at the cornerback position through the draft instead of free agency or trade, then Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr. should be first on their list.
Porter Jr. is 6’2″, 198 pounds and would fill New England’s need at boundary cornerback. The former Nittany Lion was in coverage for 275 snaps in 2022 and allowed ZERO touchdowns according to Pro Football Focus. He’ll likely be a top-15 pick, so the Pats will need to pounce on Porter ASAP.
Broderick Jones – T, Georgia
Georgia tackle Broderick Jones seems to be just about every draft analyst’s favorite fit for the Patriots – and it’s for good reason. New England desperately needs to protect Mac Jones heading into year three – and the easiest and cheapest option is to do so through the draft.
The way Georgia T Broderick Jones gets out in space and can block on the outside is nightmare fuel for opposing defenders.
— Mike Kadlick (@mikekadlick) January 19, 2023
Jones is 6’4″, 310 pounds, and fast. Former Georgia OC Todd Monken would put Jones out in space and use him as a wrecking ball against secondary defenders – and it was terrifying (see above). I can see Bill O’Brien imploring a similar game plan for him in New England.
Jahmyr Gibbs – RB, Alabama
The Patriots already have their starting running back in Rhamondre Stevenson. However – Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, who played in Tuscaloosa under OC Bill O’Brien, could be an awesome “1B” running back in New England.
Compared to Alvin Kamara by many (including myself), Gibbs caught 104 passes over three seasons at Alabama — and his shiftiness presents a unique mismatch as a receiver out of the backfield. Take a look at some of these plays:
If Gibbs is available at pick 46, it wouldn’t shock me to see New England grabs him.
Trey Dean III – S, Florida
Trey Dean III is an athletic playmaker who has been on my radar for the Patriots even prior to his dominant performance at the Shrine Bowl last month.
The safety out of Florida has a solid mix of coverage ability and ball-hawking instincts and could help New England fill the void in the backend of their defense should Devin McCourty retire.
Dean’s five full seasons in Gainesville will help his game translate to the NFL, and specifically to Foxboro – as Bill Belichick loves bringing in players with experience.
You can check out my full 2023 NFL Draft breakdown HERE, where I analyze and scout the class with tiers, player comps, videos and more to find the right fits for the Patriots.
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