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3-round mock draft: Patriots shake things up by taking QB early

The New England Patriots still have positions to fill on their roster, but since the start of free agency, they’ve quietly put themselves in a position where they can enter the 2023 NFL draft without a finger on the panic button.

There are no glaring needs on the roster to the point where it would force the Patriots to get desperate.

Sure, they could use upgrades at the offensive tackle, cornerback, safety and wide receiver positions, but they’ve laid enough of a foundation where they can be more fluid in their approach to the draft board.

That brings us to this three-round mock draft, where things get a bit interesting. Coach Bill Belichick has a reputation for skipping to the beat of his own drum, and this mock draft takes that into consideration by making a bit of a surprising move early.

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Here are the three rookies the Patriots ended up with on their roster.

No. 14: OT, Broderick Jones, Georgia

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive tackle might still be a trouble spot for the Patriots if they aren’t careful.

They still have Trent Brown, and they just gave Riley Reiff guaranteed money. Conor McDermott is back, and Calvin Anderson got a two-year deal. Everything should be good, right?

Simply being satisfied isn’t a luxury for the Patriots after the way the 2022 season ended. Mac Jones served as a crash test dummy on most Sundays due to the offensive line struggles. With Broderick Jones sitting there on the draft board, this pick was just too good to pass up.

The Patriots get a young enforcer to plug onto the offensive front to try and keep grass stains off Jones’ jersey. A big-play receiver doesn’t matter if the opposing defense is constantly feasting on sack lunches.

No. 46: QB, Hendon Hooker, Tennessee