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The New England Patriots 2023 Season Hinges On This Area

The past two months have been about getting Deandre Hopkins to the New England Patriots. It may surprise you, but he will not be the focal point of this article; in fact, he probably won't be mentioned again.

Everyone is concerned about the offense; they must be competent and organized. If they can have long drives, the defense can rest and continue to be a force throughout an entire game, getting the offense more chances. No, the season's success will rely on the quality of the 2023 draft class.

New England Goes Three & D For 23'

The Patriots used their three top 80 draft picks to add a player to every level of the defense. A defense that was the strength of the team, ranking just outside the top ten on pro football references. Beyond those analytics, this side of the ball has playmakers: Matt Judon, Josh Uche, Jonathan Jones, and Kyle Dugger.

Yet they still lacked an actual perimeter corner with length and more athleticism in the front seven to contain and neutralize mobile QBs. To counteract this, they steal a top-rated corner (Gonzalez) who is nearly 6'3 200 pounds with some of the smoothest transitions you will ever see.

For a few years, we've seen that taller receivers would cause issues for the Patriots due to their small stature at CB. As I begged New England to add size, we watched the likes of Tee Higgins, Allen Lazard, and Stephon Diggs MOSS our guys. Christian Gonzalez is the best corner prospect we've drafted since Ty Law, except he is three inches taller!

A Defensive end (White) who was invited to the first night of the draft because many felt he should've been a top 31 selection this year. Keion uses heavy, angry hands with quickness and bends to disorient linemen. He is a very balanced defensive lineman. Pairing him with Barmore gives New England a dangerous interior pass rush.

Then in the third round, they take an LB (Mapu) who has been getting rave reviews all offseason for his speed and nose for the football. I was initially pissed at this pick; however, after research and hearing/seeing what Mapu had been showing, he is turning into one of my favorite players on this roster, let alone this team.

He can be a real weapon spying on the quarterback and be a menace in disguise drop coverages. Roquan McMillan went on the IR Tavi, and Bently are more of the downhill run stuffers, so there is an opportunity for him to get all these reps. Playing well now allows him to start early in the season and make a difference.

Final Thoughts

New England may be predicted to finish last in the AFC East, but I think their first three picks in the 2023 draft could be difference-makers that could allow them to pull out a couple more wins in a stacked conference. The offense needs to be efficient for the defense to become truly great.

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