Round 2 - pick #46: Keion White
The team's second-round pick was also one of the consensus variety. They took a very good defensive end/tackle/edge, Keion White, from Georgia Tech. White's potential is immense. Only poor player-management decisions by the defensive coaches kept him from being an even more impactful player in 2023 on the Patriots' defensive line, teamed with emergent star Christian Barmore.
White has played in 16 games with 521 snaps or 49% of the team's defensive snaps. White notched 26 tackles, along with a sack, three tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits. While his stats are not overly impressive, his potential and impact were evident. His ability is obvious, though his early use was sporadic.
Additionally, he was misused more as an outside pass rusher rather than as a companion to Barmore inside in a gap. That limited his impact significantly. White is good as a defensive end and edge player. Yet, he's simply outstanding inside as a defensive tackle.
That's on Belichick and his staff, who began to use White inside to complement Barmore toward the end of the season. He's been a force. White and Barmore should be the starting defensive tackles in 2024. Their pocket-crushing ability will be one of the league's best. Grading White takes some inventiveness with his misuse by the coaching staff. Yet, his grade is still a solid A-.
Round 3 - pick #76: Marte Mapu
In the third round, Bill Belichick and his personnel staff reverted to form and reached way up for a small school player, Marte Mapu, a hybrid safety/linebacker from Sacramento State. This is where the draft started to go off the rails.
Not only did the team not address its most glaring need, offensive tackle, in any of the top three rounds (or anywhere else, for that matter), but it also reached way up for Mapu, an essentially unproven player.
Mapu played in every game but made little impact. He played 204 defensive snaps or 18% and had only a combined 18 tackles, along with one interception and one forced fumble. While the proverbial jury is still out on the player and there is potential, the pick's evaluation has to be a low C+/D-. He was a significant reach and didn't deliver.