ESPN’s seven-round 2023 NFL mock draft has some Patriots surprises in store

The new seven-round 2023 NFL mock draft has some Patriots surprises in store originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We spent a lot of oxygen discussing who the New England Patriots will pick with the No. 14 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

But if you know Bill BelichickYou know his team earns his hay in the later rounds.

That could be the case again in 2023. While New England has two picks in the top-50 selections, the team also has three fourth-round picks and four sixth-round picks, for a total of 11 picks over seven rounds.

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So who will the Patriots target with the majority of their draft capital? ESPN’s Jordan Reid bravely projected all seven rounds in an epic 2023 NFL mock draft that includes predictions for all of New England’s 11 picks.

Below are Reid’s Patriots picks (and analysis where applicable), followed by Phil Perry’s choices for each New England pick in his recent seven-round Patriots-specific mock draft.

First Round, No. 14: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois


While the Patriots haven’t taken a cornerback higher than the No. 27 (Devin McCourty in 2010) under Belichick, Witherspoon at No. 14 is “too good to pass up,” Reid writes.

“At 6ft 181lbs he plays with a consistent physical nature and Belichick and the defensive coaches could fall in love with him. With the versatility to play in nickel both inside and out, Witherspoon has the technique to make it instantly fit into the complex New England defense.”

Phil Perry’s Choice: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia

Second Round, #46: Matthew BergeronOT, Syracuse

Offensive tackling “may be New England’s greatest need,” Reid writes, and Bergeron “is an intriguing prospect who has shown dominant blitz as a run blocker.”

“He needs to improve his strength and balance as a pass guard though,” Reid added. “He allowed three sacks in 11 starts last season.”

perry recently referred to Bergeron as one of his “Prototypical Patriots” offensive tacklesciting his athleticism and wealth of ACC experience.

Phil Perry’s Choice: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State

Third Round, #76: Cedric Tillman, WR, Tennessee

Reid compares the 6-foot-3 Tillman to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis, noting that he’s averaged 16.9 yards per reception in 2021. That number dropped to 11.3 in 2022, but the large body would still make an intriguing red-zone target.

Phil Perry’s Choice: Tucker Kraft, TE, State of South Dakota

Fourth Round, #107: Mike Morris, Edge, Michigan

The Patriots have picked at least one Michigan product in four straight drafts, and they make it to five here by drafting a player they hope is more Josh Uche than Chase Winovich.

Phil Perry’s Pick: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss

Fourth Round, No. 117: Sydney Brown, S, Illinois

New England could use safety help after McCourty’s retirement (even after Jalen Mills’ conversion to safety), and Brown is NFL-ready with five years of Big Ten experience.

Phil Perry’s Pick: Jon Gaines II, OL, UCLA

Fourth Round, #135: Noah Sewell, LB, Oregon

Noah, the younger brother of Detroit Lions offensive lineman and 2021 first-round pick Penei Sewell, would bring additional depth to a linebacker core that could use a little more juice in 2023.

Phil Perry’s Choice: YaYa Diaby, DE, Louisville

Sixth Round, #184: Matt Landers, WR, Arkansas

Reid and Perry are primed for the Patriots to take a late-round flyer on a wideout. Reid’s picks are the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Landers, who rushed for 901 yards and eight touchdowns on 47 catches for the Razorbacks last season.

Phil Perry’s Pick: Tre Tucker, WR, Cincinnati

Sixth Round, #187: Juice Scruggs, OL, Penn State

Speaking of extra juice… A contender for this year’s all-name team, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Scruggs also gives the Patriots more depth where it’s badly needed.

Phil Perry’s Pick: Jack Coletto, FB, Oregon State

Sixth Round, No. 192: Jaren Hall, QB, BYU

This one is an eye opener. Hall had solid numbers as a senior (3,171 passing yards, 31 touchdown passes, six interceptions) while adding 350 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, but the Patriots need another QB with two young arms already on the list MacJones And Bailey Zappe? After Brian Hoyer’s release, there’s no harm in having a late project.

Phil Perry’s Pick: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA

Sixth Round, #210: Hunter Luepke, FB/TE, North Dakota State

Luepke is what might be called a worker dual threat, having amassed 619 rushing yards and nine touchdowns as a fullback and 196 receiving yards and four touchdowns as a tight end in 2022. One could argue that the Patriots should take a tight end sooner (Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki are both postseason free agents), but better late than never, right?

Phil Perry’s Choice: Daniel Scott, S, California

Seventh Round, No. 245: Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State

Belichick loves a good punter, and the Patriots need one after releasing Jake Bailey. So he turns to the Big Ten again to snag the conference Punter of the Year in Round 7.

Phil Perry’s Choice: Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers

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