Over the last few months, the New England Patriots have reportedly met with plenty of the top pass-catchers in the 2023 NFL Draft class.
That list includes wide receivers such as TCU's Quentin Johnston, USC's Jordan Addison, Boston College's Zay Flowers and Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba, among others. They reportedly were scheduled to meet with the top-ranked tight end in this class, Utah's Dalton Kincaid, on Thursday.
The Patriots have several needs to address with the No. 14 pick in the first round. Cornerback, edge rusher, offensive tackle and wide receiver are among the most glaring positions of weakness. Tight end is not a massive need because veteran Hunter Henry remains a quality player, but he's a free agent after the upcoming season, so finding a long-term solution at that position makes sense.
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The bottom line is the Patriots need to find a playmaker on offense who strikes fear into opposing defenses. They don't have that player at the skill positions right now. There are a couple good wideouts on the roster -- Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, etc. -- but no one who will keep defensive coordinators up at night. The only way to acquire this kind of dominant offensive player post-free agency is the trade market or the draft.
Offensive tackle might be New England's top need, but Bill Belichick has done a pretty good job during his 23-year tenure as head coach of finding quality offensive linemen in the middle to late rounds. Finding an impact wide receiver on Day 2 and Day 3 would be much harder.
New England Patriots
Which players should the Patriots target at No. 14 overall? Here's a roundup of first-round pick predictions for the Patriots from recent expert mock drafts.
Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston: Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
Todd McShay, ESPN: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
Jordan Reid, ESPN: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
NFL Scouting Department, Bleacher Report: CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Evan Lazar, Patriots.com: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Alex Barth, 98.5 The Sports Hub: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
Lance Zierlein, NFL Network: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois