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.