If you’re hoping the New England Patriots select a receiver with one of their top picks in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, don’t get your hopes up too high.
Even though most analysts agree the Patriots need to add talent at wide receiver, they don’t appear to be impressed by the receiving prospects in this year’s draft class, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Greg A. Bedard.
“What are the odds the Patriots would go that route? According to multiple sources at the league meetings, it would be a surprise if the Patriots drafted a receiver in the first round — if at all,” Bedard wrote in a recent column. “The coaches have started to dig into the process — that happens in every organization this time of year — and the early reviews are that they have not been blown away by anyone.”
The report from Bedard isn’t the only one indicating the Patriots aren’t too keen on the group of receivers prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. ESPN Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss indicated the same in his Sunday notes column, writing that “receiver and safety, however, are generally viewed as lighter on talent than the norm.”
Thanks to @uscfb WR @Espn_Jordan for stopping by today to talk his football journey and what his next month will look like meeting w/ teams ahead of #NFLDraft, including the #Patriots up first:#NFL #FightOn pic.twitter.com/6jJnInC87T
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) March 30, 2023
The Patriots’ reported early dismissal of the receiving prospects in this year’s draft class is surprising for a couple of reasons. Like we mentioned earlier, it’s an area of need that didn’t have a major change this offseason. Sure, they signed JuJu Smith-Schuster but also let leading receiver Jakobi Meyers walk in free agency. So, they have much of the same room from last season with Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton returning.
New England’s also engaged in some conversations and scouting with some of the top receiver prospects in this year’s draft. They met with USC’s Jordan Addison at the combine in March and will host him for a visit this week. They also met with TCU’s Quentin Johnston at the combine and Bill Belichick was front-and-center at his pro day last week. In addition to all of that, the Patriots’ coaching staff worked with Boston College’s Zay Flowers at the East-West Shrine Bowl in February.
TCU WR Quentin Johnston, meet New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick. Just a chill, Pro Day hang. pic.twitter.com/Lr6OkPzGXd
— Garrett Podell (@garrettpodell) March 30, 2023
While it looks like the Patriots might be closing the door on drafting a receiver, they still appear to be in the market for one. The big question is what happens if New England isn’t able to secure a veteran receiver.
“Now, [the Patriots’ perception on the receivers] can change during the process, and there’s always the Belichick X-factor when he goes rouge from the consensus,” Bedard wrote. “And there could be another X-factor this year: Robert Kraft.
“Kraft and Belichick have been a little at odds over Jones, even in their contradictory public statements. The sense is that, at least for this season, Kraft experts Belichick to do right by Jones and put him in the best possible position to succeed — one year after the coach did the exact opposite. If the Patriots can’t find a veteran option — which is the preferred route — could Kraft push the issue on drafting a receiver high? Nothing is being ruled out at this point.”
The Patriots, so far, have been linked to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy on the trade market, in addition to free-agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But some NFL insiders have speculated the Patriots trading for Hopkins is unlikely unless the Cardinals eat some more money from his contract, while Broncos coach Sean Payton said Jeudy isn’t being traded.
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