The New England Patriots don't have a true No. 1 wide receiver, and this year's free agent class doesn't include that kind of difference maker.
So, how could the Patriots acquire one of these wideouts?
The 2023 NFL Draft is perhaps the best option.
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In fact, ESPN expert Todd McShay published his latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft on Tuesday, and he projects the Patriots selecting TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston with the No. 14 pick in the first round.
"The Pats have drafted one receiver in Round 1 since they took Terry Glenn in 1996, and it didn't go well," McShay wrote. "N'Keal Harry, selected at No. 32 in 2019, fizzled out in New England after just 598 yards over three seasons. But the Patriots have to do something here. Jakobi Meyers -- who was the only WR in New England to crack 550 receiving yards last season -- is about to be a free agent, which means quarterback Mac Jones needs a reliable target in the pass game.
"At 6-3 and 208 pounds, Johnston can stretch the field and win with physicality at the catch point. He totaled 1,069 yards last season and looked explosive in Indy last week with a 40.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-2 broad jump. I'm curious if he'll run a 40 at his pro day on March 30 -- a good time there could help his stock. The Pats have to see Sauce Gardner, Tre'Davious White and Xavien Howard in coverage twice each per season, so getting help on the outside is a key this offseason."
Johnston tallied 60 receptions for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games for TCU last season. He was quarterback Max Duggan's top target on offense and a major reason why the Horned Frogs reached the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
The Patriots could have a few options at wide receiver with the No. 14 pick. USC's Jordan Addison and Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be good fits, too. Johnston reportedly was among the players the Patriots met with at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month.
Given the Patriots' lack of explosiveness and high-end talent at wide receiver, it makes sense to target this position early in the upcoming draft. Offensive tackle is another position of need, but the Patriots have proven throughout head coach Bill Belichick's tenure that they can identify quality offensive linemen in the middle to later rounds of the draft.