Early Predictions—Who will be the winners, tweeners, and losers from the Patriots 2023 draft class?

Liberty v Arkansas
Liberty v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Here is a somewhat light-hearted and somewhat serious look at who might emerge in the 2023 NFL season as the winners, tweeners, and losers from this year’s Patriots draft class.


Demario Douglas

Douglas describes his game as “electric” and I would say “supercharged” is a reasonable term to use as well. In addition to running receiver routes, he will prove very useful on jet sweeps, screens, and assorted gadget plays. There will be times when nobody can find him, and he makes it to the end zone untouched.

Players on other teams will complain that he is too “quick” and that’s “unfair.” The NFL will consider a rule change to limit his directional changes but will give up when they realize it would also affect "Day 1 Douglas" (Zay Flowers) and "Day 2 Douglas" (Tank Dell), and neither plays for the Patriots.

Jake Andrews

I predict Andrews will become a stalwart backup at both center and guard and emerges as the Patriots' best utility lineman since Ted Karras. In addition, the unnamed people who criticized the Patriots for drafting a Troy Trojan, not to mention a center, in Round 4 (Did they seriously do that?) will be embarrassed and publicly recant.


Christian Gonzalez

The first time Christian Gonzalez gets burned for a touchdown by Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle, fans in Gillette Stadium will turn to each other and say, “Whoa!! Didn’t we draft Gonzalez to stop these guys?”

Evan Lazar’s excellent piece on Gonzalez in Patriots.com, while generally very complimentary of Gonzalez’ skill set, highlights the development that needs to happen for before Gonzalez can be labeled a shut-down corner.

It won’t be easy for Christian—there will be some growing pains, and he will occasionally be toasted. How long it takes for the emergence of Gonzalez as the shutdown corner everyone expects is up to Gonzalez himself.

Chad Ryland

I expect Ryland to beat out Nick Folk because why wouldn’t the Patriots choose him over Folk given that they wasted—sorry, I mean “used”—a 4th-Round draft choice on a kicker? Still, the first time Ryland misses a 39-yard field goal, the chants for “Folk, Folk” will begin. Although Ryland has experience with different climates in Eastern Michigan and Maryland, kicking in breezy Foxboro with a game or a season on the line is a different level of pressure.

Ultimately, I expect Ryland will find his groove in Foxboro, and in 15 years or so, he might be mentioned in the same vein as Vinatieri and Gostkowski. Well, that’s going way too far, but I expect him to have a solid career.


Kayshon Boutte

Based on his NFL Combine showing, it’s still unclear whether Boutte is physically the player he was before his ankle surgeries. Further, he has to face the difficulties of adjusting to life in Foxboro after a very uneven career in Baton Rouge.

It’s unlikely that Boutte makes the opening roster, but there may still be hope for him on the practice squad.

Sidy Sow

I expect Patriots coaches to move Sow full-time to tackle in the preseason because they “forgot” to draft one. I further predict that Sow will be moved back to guard later in the year, but his development will be slowed substantially by the positional changes.

Patriots coaches will absolve themselves from blame for Sow’s development by saying they only moved him around because it was “best for the team.”

Remember, the above are just “predictions,” and it’s up to the player to determine success or failure. Regardless of what any analyst or writer says, I expect the most successful player will be the one who comes into the preseason with the Tom Brady attitude:

"Hi, I’m Tom Brady. And I’m the best decision this organization has ever made."

Tom Brady