As the 2023 NFL draft quickly approaches, more and more experts are releasing their latest mocks, some with surprising moves.
The Patriots have several options to consider in the first round, particularly due to their ideal position with pick 14. Because they have some significant needs to address, like wide receiver, offensive tackle, and cornerback, most of the mock drafts throughout the offseason have had them choose one of the top players in one of those categories.
However, the latest mock draft from CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli has the Patriots making a stunning move in round one; they trade with the Bears and move into the top ten.
This would be an uncharacteristic move for Bill Belichick to make in round one, as he is historically known for trading back early on, and most have assumed the same will happen this year, too. But Fornelli predicts the head coach will go against all he’s known and make the big move to get top talent on the offensive line.
"“The Bears have been vocal lately about how they’d be open to trading down again, and that’s precisely what they do as the Patriots move up to grab the tackles they want before teams like the Titans and Jets get the chance to. Johnson is my top OT in this class, but he wouldn’t be if Peter Skoronski had normal arms. Life isn’t always fair.”"
If New England can pull off this trade to snag the second-ranked tackle in the draft, then hopefully, Fornelli is just predicting the future.
With the inconsistency of protection from the offensive line last year dramatically impacting much of Mac Jones’ performance last year, Johnson would be an incredible addition with immediate starting abilities upon drafting.
It would be another substantial move that Belichick has made this offseason in an attempt to improve the offense around Jones and still allows them to go for quality prospects of other positions that have deeper classes this year in a later round.