Patriots

Patriots take Oregon star in Daniel Jeremiah's new 2023 NFL Mock Draft

Patriots

One position that many experts project the New England Patriots will address in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is cornerback.

It makes sense, too.

In a pass-happy league, having a No. 1 cornerback is essential to success. The Patriots have been fortunate to employ several of those top-tier players over the last two decades, including Ty Law, Asante Samuel, Aqib Talib, Darrelle Revis, Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson. New England's top cornerback right now is Jonathan Jones, but the 32-year-old veteran is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent next month.

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If Jones departs, it would leave the Patriots pretty thin at cornerback in an AFC East division loaded with high-end wide receivers like Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Stefon Diggs and Garrett Wilson.

Many recent 2023 NFL Mock Drafts have predicted the Patriots will select Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round.

NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah is going in a slightly different direction with his latest mock draft. His new projections published Wednesday have the Patriots targeting Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez. 

 

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Gonzalez has good size at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. He also boasts impressive athleticism. Gonzalez tallied 50 total tackles with four interceptions and seven passes defensed in 12 games for the Ducks last season. 

The Patriots could go offensive tackle or wide receiver in the first round, too, and a lot of it might have to do with which prospects make it to No. 14. It's not expected to be a quarterback-heavy Round 1, which sometimes makes the first 32 picks even harder to predict.