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Morning Sports Update

Kiper also listed offensive line and wide receiver as possible areas the Patriots might address in the draft.

Devon Witherspoon
Devon Witherspoon playing for Illinois in 2022. Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Bruins play the Lightning tonight in Tampa at 7 p.m.

The Celtics will also be in action this evening, hosting the Knicks at 7:30 p.m.

Mel Kiper’s first mock draft: With the Patriots’ season over — bereft of a playoff spot for the second time in three seasons — attention has already turned to the team’s numerous priorities that need to be addressed in both free agency and the draft.

On Wednesday, longtime ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. released the first of his 2023 NFL mock drafts.

In it, he projects that the Patriots will select Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the 14th pick.

“Witherspoon is my top-ranked corner, a long and physical player who shut down an entire side of the field for the Fighting Illini,” wrote Kiper. “He also is not afraid to stick his head in and make a tackle.”

At Illinois, Witherspoon recorded 41 total tackles in 2022 with three interceptions. As Kiper noted, Witherspoon is also known for his physicality.

Beyond cornerback, Kiper suggested New England could also consider drafting an offensive lineman or a wide receiver.

The 2023 NFL Draft gets underway on April 27 in Kansas City.

Trivia: Who is the last cornerback that the Patriots drafted in the first round?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He recorded seven interceptions as a rookie and was named to the Pro Bowl, but eventually switched to safety.

More from Boston.com:

Rob Gronkowski on the Bill O’Brien hire: ‘That’s who the Patriots had to get’

Could the Patriots target slot receiver Hunter Renfrow in a trade this offseason?

Linus Ullmark has been near unstoppable in net. The Bruins need to reward him with fewer starts.

Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari is still charting a potential return this season from ACL surgery

Is Bill O’Brien the right pick for the Patriots offensive coordinator job? You tell us.

Could the Patriots target slot receiver Hunter Renfrow in a trade this offseason?

Shrine Bowl coaching staff: No Matt Patricia or Joe Judge

NFL franchises in need of a Quarterback might face a difficult offseason

After hiring Bill O’Brien, what else do Bill Belichick, Patriots need to do to fix this offense? Here are 3 offseason goals.

No set timetable for Marcus Smart’s return from ankle injury

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes to practice as usual on sprained ankle

Mikaela Shiffrin adds to record total with 84th win in another GS

Here’s the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming documentary about Bill Russell: It will debut on Feb. 8.

DeJuan Jones made his U.S. National Team debut: The Revolution outside back played well despite the U.S. men falling 2-1 to Serbia. Fellow Revolution player Djordje Petrovic started the game in goal for Serbia.

On this day: In 1978, the Bruins defeated the then-Colorado Rockies 4-3 thanks to a pair of third period goals.

1978 Bruins Globe Photo Gerry Cheevers

Daily highlight: Laycee Drake’s last-second running three-pointer gave UMBC a 61-60 win over NJIT on Wednesday.

Trivia answer: Devin McCourty



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