2023 NFL Draft Grades: New England Patriots
What draft grades have the media given to the New England Patriots? What are they saying about the Patriots' 2023 draft haul?
NFL.com - Grade: A-
The team used the fourth-rounder gained from the Rams for running back Sony Michel on Andrews, a solid Day 3 pick as a guard or center. They added Sow and Mafi later to compete for jobs along the O-line, as well. I love Boutte's fit as a physical slot receiver ,and Douglas is undersized but agile in the open field. The size and athleticism of both Speed and Bolden are intriguing. The team hopes Ryland and Baringer bring consistency to the special-teams units.
ESPN - Grade: B+
I also liked the Keion White (46) selection in the middle of Round 2. He has the position flexibility to play with his hand in the dirt or standing up on the edge of the D-line. I thought the Pats reached a little bit for linebacker Marte Mapu (76), but he is a solid player, so I'm not going to ding them much. The biggest question I had Friday night was: Why didn't they get Mac Jones any help? They passed on the tight ends and receivers. In fact, they ended up not taking a pass-catcher until Round 6.
On Day 3, New England added both my top-ranked kicker Chad Ryland (112) and punter Bryce Baringer (192), becoming the first team since the 2000 Raiders to take a kicker and a punter in the same draft. This definitely fills holes, and Belichick had a few extra picks with which to work. Wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (187) is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. Coming into the 2022 season, we thought he might be a first-round pick; he had nine touchdowns on just 38 catches in 2021. Then he had a poor season and an even worse pre-draft process, testing terribly at the combine. If the Patriots can untap his talent, he could be a major steal, but I have doubts.
This grade might be clouded a bit by the first two selections, both of which I loved; but overall, it's tough to downgrade this class too much.
SI - Grade: B-
PFF - Grade: A-
Day 2: White fits the mold of the defensive linemen that New England tends to look for up front — a powerful 6-foot-5, 285-pounder. White earned a 75.8 PFF pass-rush grade in his lone season as a starter for Wake Forest in 2022 after transferring from Old Dominion.
The Patriots continue to add different skill sets and body types at safety, a position they've had good depth at in recent years. At 221 pounds, Mapu came in at the 96th percentile among safeties in weight, and he paired that with an 85.9 PFF run-defense grade in his final season at Sacramento. He'll likely have a role in the box with New England.
Day 3: For the second year in a row, the Patriots reach on a center, as Andrews ranked No. 237 on the consensus big board. Andrews is adept as a run blocker in zone and gap concepts but earned a 56.5 pass block grade due to a lack of anchor and lower-body strength, which showed up with a 24th-percentile vertical and 44th-percentile broad jump.
Ryland was the No. 3 kicker on the PFF big board, earning 89.0-plus kicking grades in each of the last two seasons. The below-average grade here is less of an indictment of Ryland as it is the process of trading up for a kicker in the fourth round.
Sow is one of the more experienced offensive line prospects in this class, having played over 3,500 snaps across five seasons at Eastern Michigan. He's a big, athletic guard at 324 pounds who graded better on gap-scheme runs than zone runs in college.
New England landed a big, athletic guard in Sidy Sow in the fourth round and goes back to the well with the 6-foot-4, 339-pound Mafi here. Mafi earned an 88.3 run-blocking grade in a UCLA offense that moves lightning-fast under head coach Chip Kelly. This past season was his first as a full-time starter, perhaps signaling more growth and development ahead.
Boutte fell for many reasons — a lack of production in 2022 after lofty expectations, a very poor combine and apparent off-field concerns. However, this is a player that many analysts projected as the potential No. 1 wide receiver in the 2023 draft class before the season, and New England lands him at No. 187 overall.
The Patriots take their second specialist of the draft here with Baringer after trading up for Chad Ryland in the fourth round. Baringer's 76.4 PFF punting grade over the last two seasons ranks 26th out of 62 Power 5 punters with at least 50 punts.
Douglas is small, but he put up some impressive numbers at Liberty in 2022. He produced an 81.7 PFF grade against man coverage and averaged 2.57 yards per route run. He dropped just four of the 80 catchable passes thrown his way this past season.
Speed played six years in college, but this past season at Michigan State was the only year where he was on the field for more than 200 snaps. He saw 737 snaps for the Spartans but produced just a 57.2 PFF grade.
Bolden graded at 74.7 overall playing in the slot this past season under Deion Sanders at Jackson State.
Fox Sports - Grade: B+
They then took Georgia Tech defensive end Keion White in the second round. He's another elite athlete with a lot of potential. The good news is that he won't have to rush onto the field, with the Patriots fairly deep on the edge.
New England finished the draft with a total of 12 — TWELVE! — prospects. They took three cornerbacks, one defensive lineman, one inside linebacker, two receivers, three interior offensive linemen, one kicker and one punter.
What they didn't take? A tackle. That's the lone need they didn't fill.
USA Today - Grade: B-
The Ringer - Grade: A
Sporting News - Grade: C-
Touchdown Wire - Grade: A
I will be fascinated to see how Belichick deploys Marte Mapu, who, like Kyle Dugger a few years back, is a smaller-school safetybacker who shows his athletic tools from multiple spots. SIdy Sow and Atonio Mafi especially project well to help an offensive line in transition, and if the Patriots can get the most out of Kayshon Boutte, that's going to be one of the steals of this class. Boutte was thought to be a first-round prospect before his disappointing 2022 season.
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