We’re smack dab in the middle of draft season, so 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Alex Barth and I are diving into PFF Mock’s every Thursday night from now until the real one on the Patriots Beat Podcast.
We decided to stray away from the typical “cornerback/tackle” first-round pick for New England this time, instead opting for a speedy chess piece the Patriots can use on their offense.
Check out my full Google Doc of ongoing NFL draft prep HERE as I analyze and scout the 2023 class, and find the right fits for the Patriots.
Here are the results from Mock 4.0:
Round 1, Pick 14: Zay Flowers – WR, Boston College
After going with Broderick Jones, Anton Harrison, and Joey Porter Jr. in versions one, two, and three, the Patriots add a weapon for quarterback Mac Jones this time around.
At 5’9″, Boston College’s Zay Flowers projects out as a slot receiver in the NFL but has an Antonio Brown-like ceiling and skillset that can be utilized all over the field. New offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien would likely find work for him at the “3” in his system and would turn him into an immediate impact player in a Patriots offense that desperately needs one.
Round 2, Pick 46: Emmanuel Forbes – CB, Mississippi State
Filling their largest roster hole early in round two, the Patriots go cornerback with their second pick.
Emmanuel Forbes from Mississippi State is a baller. He brings a 6’1″ frame to your cornerback room and is arguably the best playmaker in this draft class, having tallied six pick-sixes throughout his time with the Bulldogs. An absolute ball hawk.
Forbes weighed in at just 166 pounds at the NFL Combine in February, so he certainly has work to do in the weight room. However, that may be just what New England needs for him to fall in their lap at 46.
Round 3, Pick 76: Tyler Steen – T, Alabama
This may be a bit of a reach for Tyler Steen at 76, but it made sense here with the way the board fell at tackle.
Steen played for Bill O’Brien at Alabama, telling Patriots.com earlier this month that, “he’s a really good coach… He makes it easy on the players. He’s got a little juice. He wants the best out of us.”
Steen has the juice as well, measuring in at 6’6″, 321 lbs with a 32 3/4″ arm length. He’d bring a ton of size and would become yet another piece of depth to New England’s tackle room. A massive shift from a season ago.
Round 4, Pick 107: Jartavius Martin – S, Illinois
Round four is where the Patriots may try and fill the hole Devin McCourty left in the backend of their defense.
With guys like Jonathan Jones and Jalen Mills who can play both safety and corner returning to Foxboro, New England may look to play an “amoeba” style at defensive back. Jartavius Martin from Illinois would be a great addition to that philosophy.
Martin played all over the defensive backfield for the Illini during his college career and finished 2022 with 3 INT, 11 PD, and 64 tackles. He’d bring an abundance of versatility that we all know Bill Belichick loves.
Round 4, Pick 117: Kendre Miller – RB, TCU
New England’s running back room isn’t as deep as you may think heading into 2023. Though they added James Robinson and still have Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris, the Patriots still need more, especially after letting Damien Harris walk to the Bills.
They’ll likely want to re-stock their room with a day-two pick, and TCU’s Kendre Miller would make a ton of sense. He played a major role in TCU’s run to the National Championship game in 2023, putting up 1,399 yards and 17 TD’s for the Horned Frogs. After a successful meeting with Bill Belichick and co. at the TCU Pro Day, he’s certainly on the Patriots’ radar.
Round 4, Pick 135: TRADED to Washington Commanders
TRADE COMP: Patriots trade R4 135 for R5 150, R6 193
After sticking to our first five picks, traded back 15 spots and picked up an additional sixth-rounder.
Round 5, Pick 150: Michael Turk – P, Oklahoma
Given that round five is the Patriots’ de facto special teams round, they go with punter Michael Turk after trading back 15 spots.
Turk is a freak athlete, worked with New England at the Shine Bowl, and had the highest PFF rating of any punter at an All-Star game, recording the longest punt ever in such game (67 yards).
Need I say more? Turn in the card.
Round 5, Pick 184: Jose Ramirez – EDGE, Eastern Michigan
No, not Cleveland Guardians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez.
Adding to their EDGE, New England goes with Eastern Michigan product Jose Ramirez in round five, who put up 12 sacks in 2022. An extremely productive player for the Eagles, Ramirez has also shown innate leadership qualities that the Patriots look for in a prospect.
Round 5, Pick 187: Anthony Bradford – G, LSU
Though New England is set on the interior offensive line in 2022, Mike Onwenu is a free agent next offseason and it’s safe to assume that David Andrews is year-to-year at this point.
They need to add depth and athleticism as they look to build out a new offensive system. Anthony Bradford from LSU is an extremely athletic guard, scoring a 9.80 RAS score throughout his testing days this pre-draft season.
Bradford met informally with the Patriots at the NFL Combine in February, so there’s some interest there.
Round 6, Pick 192: Brayden Willis – TE, Oklahoma
The Patriots once again wait out the most stacked position group in the 2023 class and find themselves a gem on day three who can help them with their severely lacking “blocking tight end” department.
Brayden Willis, a “move” tight end from Oklahoma, caught 39 passes for 514 yards and seven TD’s for the Sooners in 2022. He’s a five-year player who also plays fullback and is a guy that Bill O’Brien and co. will likely look to move all over the field.
With Jonnu Smith being traded to the Falcons, the Pats essentially replace him with Willis here.
Round 6, Pick 193: TRADED to Houston Texans
TRADE COMP: Patriots Trade R6 193, R7 245 for 2024 R5
With a bunch of picks bunched up, we trade 193 and 245 fo Houston for a fifth-rounder in 2024.
Round 7, Pick 210: TRADED to Chicago Bears
TRADE COMP: Patriots trade R7 210 for R7 218, R7 258
Another trade! We move down eight spots and pick up an extra pick.
Round 7, Pick 218: Dante Stills – DT, West Virginia
The Patriots add to their interior defensive line with Dante Still from West Virginia.
The 286-pounder ran a 4.92 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in April and would have the opportunity to rotate with Lawrence Guy and Christian Barmore for a season or two before having to become an every-down player NFL player.
Round 7, Pick 257: Michael Jefferson – WR, UL-Lafayette
New England bookends their draft at wide receiver by bringing in former Ragin’ Cajuns pass-catcher Michael Jefferson.
Jefferson is 6’4″ 205 pounds and would likely end up on the Patriots’ practice squad. However, if they can retain him he’d have the ability to develop and learn behind veteran DeVanter Parker before potentially getting a shot in year two. It’s worth not letting him get to free agency.
We’ll be back Tuesday on Patriots Beat to go over the latest news out of New England and a Q+A. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast HERE, and to our YouTube channel, Patriots Press Pass.
Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick, and follow @PatriotsCLNS for the latest up-to-date Patriots news!
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