2023 NFL Mock Draft

Selection Comment - Pick #16

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New England
Isaiah Foskey

Notre Dame


The Patriots' see-saw season continues. After allowing a measly 3 points to the Jets, the defense turned around and let the Kirk Cousins and the Vikings put up 33 on Thanksgiving. Thursday's performance was uncharacteristic for the team as a whole. In fact, its hard to remember the last time a Belichick team committed so many blunders, between the various penalties, the 'running into the kicker' incident, and the decision to run out the final punt, which would have bounced into the end zone for a touchback and saved precious seconds and field position for a game-tying drive.

On a positive note, the performance was also uncharacteristic for the offense. Mac Jones was dealing in what was perhaps his best game of the season, the run game was working, and the Pats put up 26. Is this one performance enough to convince me that the offense is fixed and the defense is the unit that needs more help in the offseason? Definitely not. But it's encouraging, and it makes it worthwhile to take a look at other positional needs that may arise. After all, drafting for future needs is a sound strategy. So which positions on the defense could we look at?

At first glance, Edge Rusher appears to be set for the foreseeable future. The Patriots boast the NFL's sack leader in Matthew Judon, as well as quality players in Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche. Combined with the likes of Dietrich Wise, Davon Godchaux, and the injured Christian Barmore along the interior, the Pats defensive line is a formidable unit. So why try to fix a good thing?

Per overthecap.com, the Patriots' highest paid player in 2022, 2023, and 2024 is none other than Matthew Judon. No, I'm certainly not arguing that he makes too much, but looking at the overall cap structure of the team, as well as new contracts that will need to be offered to young players in the coming years, it will be tough to fit in another huge contract for an edge player.

The Patriots could opt to bring in a high-upside edge rusher prospect to ensure they will have two high quality starters at one of the most important positions in football for years to come. Notre Dame's Isaiah Foskey is a scheme-diverse, athletic prospect who has been ascending in the lead up to the 2022 draft. Foskey has plenty of room to grow as a player, but the frame and the instincts are there, and he should be viewed as a first round prospect. There's no such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to players to can disrupt offensive game plans and get to the quarterback. The Patriots may not be able to resist getting another one.

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