Realistic Patriots 2023 Draft Report Card and Redraft

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Round 5 - 144th overall pick

Pick: Atonio Mafi, G, UCLA.

Grade: B+

Alternate Pick: Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State.

Mafi is the most solid offensive lineman pick by the Patriots, although, in case no one noticed, he is another guard. I think Mafi will be very good, but there is a limit to how many guards you can have on the team.

Robinson is a true safety unlike the hybrid safety/linebacker the Pats actually drafted in Round 3. Robinson has 4.59 speed in the 40-yard dash and was rated as the 6th-ranked safety by PFF. He would have been a great value in Round 5.

Round 6 picks

Pick: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

Grade: C-

Alternate Pick: Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State.

Boutte got very mixed reviews from scouts and ran only a 4.5 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. Boutte's best season was as a freshman in 2021; his average yards per catch dipped significantly from 16.33 in 2020 to 11.21 in 2022.

PFF’s 2023 NFL POSTdraft guide says of Boutte: “There are some games where he looks like an NFL star and others where he looks completely disinterested.” It's not clear if Boutte will be a good fit in Foxboro given his inconsistent production, history of ankle injuries, and past issues with the LSU coaching staff.  

I'll select Baringer instead of Boutte here as, clearly, no team can ever have enough special teams guys. That’s my concession to special teams in this draft.

Pick: Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State.

Grade: B-

Alternate Pick: Keondre Coburn, DL, Texas.

I can’t give the Baringer pick a bad grade since I selected him a few spots earlier. Passing on Boutte and selecting Baringer with the previous pick would have given the Pats a chance to add a stout defensive tackle here to shore up the middle of their defensive line. NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein of said of Keondre Coburn: “Coburn’s blend of girth, power and agility could be coveted by teams looking for help along the interior.”

Pick: Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty.

Grade: A

Alternate Pick: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion.

I love Douglas (see later selection) but selecting a TE here, if not earlier, would have given the Pats at least a developmental option, given both Mike Gesecki and Hunter Henry are eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2023 season.  

Zach Kuntz would have been a low-risk pick in Round 6 with a potentially high return. He ran a 4.55 40 at the NFL combine—the second fastest time for a tight end. He may not be a finished product yet, but how is a fast 6-foot 7-inch TE with good receiving skills not the “right fit” for the Patriots? Even in the 6th-round? Can he not be taught to block?

Pick: Amer Speed, CB Michigan State

Grade: D

Alternate Picks: Demario Douglas, WR, Liberty; Mekhi Garner, CB, LSU.

Amer Speed is a big corner and, yes, is appropriately named with a 4.33 40-yard dash time to his credit. Given that ranked Speed as its 49th best CB and PFF graded this pick as “below average”--no one should have high expectations for this pick.

I love Douglas’ game. If you can’t catch someone, you can’t tackle him. I think he’s one 6th-rounder with a chance to make a big impact.

Mekhi Garner has excellent size at 6’2” tall and 212 pounds and was the 10th-ranked CB by and the 17th-ranked CB by Walter Football. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent.

Round 7 picks

Pick: Isaiah Bolden, CB, Jackson State.

Grade: C

Alternate Pick: Alex Forsyth, C, Oregon.

Isaiah Bolden has good size (6’2” 205 lbs.) and speed (4.31 40-yard dash time) and can return kicks. So why didn’t he get drafted earlier? Bolden was the 25th ranked CB on and is still a project. He is one more player who is going to have to make the team by contributing on special teams.

I watched game highlights of Oregon to see how Christian Gonzales fared and really noticed the excellent job Alex Forsyth did blocking up on offensive plays. I never saw him get beat or look out of position. It’s disappointing the Pats didn’t take advantage of what should have been inside knowledge from new coach Adrian Klemm about Forsyth.

Eric Edholm, NFL analyst for, commented: “Forsyth was mostly a center in college but could be a three-position backup inside. He's known for elite intangibles and a gritty playing style.” Sounds like a great Patriot to me: smart, tough, and dependable.