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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Will Patriots Get Mac Jones Help?

LSU has a strong history of producing receivers, a trend the Patriots might capitalize on.

The New England Patriots enter the 2022 season with several question marks offensively, primarily centered around who will be calling the plays for quarterback Mac Jones.

This offseason, the Patriots made an effort to improve the pieces around Jones, trading for receiver DeVante Parker and using their second-round draft choice on Baylor wideout Tyquan Thornton

While each player will be given a chance to prove they can be reliable playmakers for Jones and the Patriots, the team may still decide to add more weapons to the receiver room next offseason.

In ESPN's latest - and way premature - 2023 mock draft, the Patriots did just that, selecting LSU receiver Kayshon Boutte with the No. 18 overall pick. Boutte, 20, was an All-American as a freshman two seasons ago, and averaged nearly 85 receiving yards per game across six contests last season. 

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Says ESPN of the projected pick:

Let's get quarterback Mac Jones some help in New England. Boutte had 38 catches last season, but coach Brian Kelly should usher in a more pro-style offense for the Tigers, in turn boosting Boutte's numbers. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, his size and speed remind me some of Philadelphia's DeVonta Smith, who was the No. 10 pick in 2021. Boutte needs the on-field production to propel himself up draft boards in the same way Smith did when he won the Heisman Trophy in 2020. - ESPN's Matt Miller

Boutte drawing a DeVonta Smith comparison is particularly notable considering that the Eagles star and Jones formed an electric duo at Alabama, finishing first and third in Heisman Trophy voting, respectively.

While New England hasn't had great success drafting receivers, Boutte has the talent to buck that trend. In this mock draft, the LSU star was the third wideout off the board, behind Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 2 overall) and USC's Jordan Addison (No. 14 overall).

The 2023 NFL Draft is still 10 months away, but the Patriots needing additional help at receiver isn't out of the equation. If Boutte turns in a stellar junior season, he could be a perfect fit in New England as the team tries to get back to the Super Bowl.