2023 NFL Draft grades: Patriots' Bill Belichick may have nabbed top cornerback of this class
Overall New England Patriots grade: B+
The Patriots came out of this draft with a handful of players who can help them in the immediate future. Christian Gonzalez has the potential to grow into an All-Pro corner, Georgia Tech's Keion White has the body type that has typically thrived along the Patriots’ defensive line and Sacramento State's Marte Mapu is an exciting do-it-all player in the back seven. It’s not a sexy draft, but it’s a draft that will help fortify the back of their team. An offensive pick would have helped in the first round, but it’s hard to complain with Gonzalez falling right into their laps after a trade down. New coordinator Bill O’Brien is going to have to work some magic on offense, but hey, he’s better than what they had.
Favorite pick: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (17th overall)
This pick may wind up being the steal of the first round. Gonzalez’s game may not be for every analyst or coach due to his shaky tackling, but it’s tough to find corners who move better in man coverage. He has all the traits to be a No. 1 cornerback, which is an incredible thing to find at the 17th pick in the draft. If the tackling can be taught, Gonzalez will quickly end up one of the more complete corners in the league. His movement skills as a cover corner really are different than most guys.
Least favorite pick: Chad Ryland, K, Maryland (112th overall)
No specialists this early in the draft. Sue me, don’t care. This is sacrilegious. It’s the only real blemish on an otherwise strong draft class.
Full Patriots draft
Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez (R1, 17th overall)
Georgia Tech DE Keion White (R2, 46th)
Sacramento State LB Marte Mapu (R3, 76th)
Troy C Jake Andrews (R4, 107th)
Maryland K Chad Ryland (R4, 112nd)
Eastern Michigan OG Sidy Sow (R4, 117th)
UCLA OG Atonio Mafi (R5, 144th)
LSU WR Kayshon Boutte (R6, 187th)
Michigan State P Bryce Baringer (R6, 192nd)
Liberty WR Demario Douglas (R6, 210th)
Michigan State CB Ameer Speed (R6, 214th)
Jackson State CB Isaiah Bolden (R7, 245th)