American Football

NFL mock draft: Patriots make surprising first-round pick


NFL mock draft: Patriots make surprising first-round pick
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England addressing its edge rush is not something that’s expected.

The New England Patriots will select 14th overall in this year’s draft, and there are several directions they could go to address their needs. If a new mock draft published over at The 33rd Team is to be believed, however, they will instead do something entirely different and make a rather surprising selection:

14. New England Patriots: Andre Carter, Edge, Army

Coach Bill Belichick loves the service academies, and he makes Carter the first service academy first-round pick since Tex Coulter in 1947.

The pick is not a surprise because of the player taken. Andre Carter II is immensely talented, could realistically come off the board in the first round, and has the tools to be a Day 1 starter at the next level.

No, the selection is a surprise because of the position he plays. The Patriots, after all, have some major needs outside their defensive edge: offensive tackle, most glaringly among them, as well as cornerback, linebacker and wide receiver.

The edge, meanwhile, is relatively well-set. Matthew Judon is a Pro Bowl player at the position, with Josh Uche’s late-season breakout making him a player to watch — and potential extension candidate — in 2023 as well. Additionally, Anfernee Jennings and former third-round pick Ronnie Perkins are also on the roster.

While Uche’s and Jennings’ contracts will be up after the 2023 season, investing a first-round pick in an edge defender — albeit a highly talented one — would be an interesting use of resources. It would not be a shocker, because nothing the Patriots do ever really is, but it would not address a major need either.

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