The New England Patriots are no strangers to trading down in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In fact, they've done it in two of the last three years.
The Patriots owned the No. 23 pick in the first round in 2020 and traded it to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second- and third-round pick. They owned the No. 21 overall selection in 2022 and dealt that pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 29 pick, where head coach Bill Belichick took left guard Cole Strange.
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So, we have recent history of the Patriots trading back in Round 1.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay published his new 2023 NFL Mock Draft on Tuesday, and it includes the Patriots trading down from No. 14 to No. 19. New England selects Tennessee right tackle Darnell Wright with that No. 19 pick.
Here is McShay's analysis of that selection:
New England Patriots
"Trent Brown turns 30 this offseason, Isaiah Wynn is still unsigned, and Riley Reiff isn't a long-term fix at right tackle. And when your quarterback turns in a league-low 4.1 QBR when pressured, you'd think getting him some more protection would be a priority. So landing Wright at No. 19 after the trade-back works on a lot of levels. Wright allowed just one sack last season, thanks in part to his great balance and 6-foot-5, 333-pound frame. He'd also help spring running back Rhamondre Stevenson as one of the best run-blockers in the class. I considered Boston College receiver Zay Flowers, but while pass-catcher is a need, right tackle is a bigger one."
Wright played fantastic at right tackle for a Tennessee team that was a national title contender for much of last season. He also decisively won his matchup versus Alabama star edge rusher Will Anderson when the Volunteers upset the Crimson Tide in October.
In the second round of his mock draft, McShay projects the Patriots taking Michigan cornerback DJ Turner.
Here is McShay's analysis of that pick:
"Turner has a great combination of speed and fluidity. He ran a scorching 4.26 in the 40-yard dash (fastest at the combine this year), and he can mirror receivers' every move. Jonathan Jones re-signed in New England, but there's a need for more playmakers in the secondary. Turner had three interceptions and 18 pass breakups over the past two seasons."
Bolstering the right tackle and cornerback positions in the first two rounds would be an excellent start to the 2023 draft for the Patriots, especially if they can get another asset by trading down in Round 1.
It might be tempting to take a wide receiver in the first round, but the Patriots did add JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight end Mike Gesicki in free agency. Veteran wideout Kendrick Bourne also should play a larger role in the offense next season. The Patriots could still draft a wideout with their third-round pick or one of their three fourth-rounders.