April is already upon us! At the end of April the 2023 rookie class will begin their NFL careers. Fans will be cheering worldwide seeing who will be joining their favorite team. However, most of the time Patriots fans are cautiously optimistic about the NFL Draft, especially the first round.
More often than not Bill Belichick trades down in the draft. Just last year Belichick traded down from the 21st overall selection to the 29th overall selection drafting offensive guard Cole Strange from Chattanooga. So this begs the question, could the Patriots trade down in the first round of the NFL Draft?
The last time the Patriots didn’t trade down was in 2021 when they selected Alabama’s quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall selection. This year New England holds the 14th overall selection and they should have plenty of options on what to do with this pick.
Address the offensive line
The Patriots brought in Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson this offseason to help with their offensive line struggles. But there are three rookies who could immediately make an impact on the offensive line.
Peter Skoronski is this year’s crown jewel for all offensive lineman. The Northwestern tackle stands at 6’4 and rarely gives up any sacks.
Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State is most likely going to be the best available offensive tackle when the Patriots are on the clock. Just like Skoronski he’s at his best when pass blocking.
Lastly there’s Broderick Jones from Georiga. The quick footed lineman is coming off of a championship season with the Bulldogs and was one of the strongest lineman at the combine.
Taking a chance on a wide receiver
Patriots fans all agree that the team needs a number one receiver on the roster. In order to find one could the Patriots trade down in the first round of the NFL Draft? No. There’s two NFL ready receivers that could both be available at 14.
The first is Jaxson Smith-Njigba from Ohio State. His final season was cut short due to injury but looking back at his sophomore season it was clear that Smith-Njigba was going to be a first round selection. He hauled in 95 receptions for 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns. That’s what a number one receiver is capable of.
There’s also Quentin Johnston from TCU. Johnston was a big part in TCU’s run to the College Football Playoff Final this year against Georgia. Johnston is considered the top receiver in this year’s draft.
Trading the pick
It’s always a strong possibility that New England trades down. There are prospects like Anton Harrison the offensive tackle from Oklahoma and Emmanuel Forbes the cornerback from Mississippi State who are projected to go either late in the first or early in the second round that Belichick could trade down for.
Could the Patriots trade down in the first round of the NFL Draft? For either of those players or someone else of their caliber they’re worth the wait for it’s definitely possible a trade could happen. There is one thing however, Belichick can be both predictable and unpredictable when it comes to the NFL Draft.