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Analysis: Patriots Continue Hitting Biggest Needs on Draft's Day 2

With two more picks added on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Patriots are quickly reestablishing their offense by addressing their biggest needs.

Pictured from left to right: Penn State offensive tackle Caedan Wallace (79) and Washington wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk (2).
Pictured from left to right: Penn State offensive tackle Caedan Wallace (79) and Washington wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk (2).

With a promising quarterback of the future already secured with the third overall pick, the Patriots continued to remake their offense on Friday night by checking off two more of their other biggest needs by selecting wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk and offensive tackle Caedan Wallace.

"It fell really nicely for us," said Eliot Wolf of the team's Day 2 selections. "Polk was a guy we had targeted, Wallace was a guy we had targeted… sometimes it doesn't fall for you, but it fell really nicely today."

Now, with Drake Maye at quarterback, Polk joining a packed wide receiver room and Wallace bringing a needed infusion of promising youth to the tackle spot, the Patriots have spent the first two days of the draft focusing on improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

"We had our eye on him for a while," Wolf told reporters of Polk just before the second night ended. "Really good fit in our offense. He's really tough. He's strong. He can run all the routes, play inside, and outside. He's a good blocker. Really competitive, both for the ball in the air and as a run-after-catch player. Really just a versatile do-everything type guy. He ran a little bit faster than a lot of people expected but when you turn the tape on, you see him running by people."

Polk was part of the vaunted Washington offense this past season, wrapping up his college career with his best season. Despite playing second fiddle to Rome Odunze, Polk told reporters he felt like he had a lot to offer the Patriots offense where he was ready to tackle multiple receiver spots.

"I think being a new player, you've got to be able to know how to move around, do different things and be able to go out there and contribute to your offense," said Polk. "So, being versatile, being able to move inside and outside, know what everybody's doing on the field is very important. So, I think it's my job to know as much as I can, to go out there and make plays for those guys that are putting in work each and every play."

The team's newest receiver also had high praise for its newest quarterback Maye, as the two rookies will have the chance to develop in New England together.

"The guy's electric," said Polk of Maye. "He goes out there and he's able to make plays for his team. He's a great guy, an awesome player, man… I'm excited to be able to get to work with him."

In the third round, the selection of Wallace came on the heels of an extensive run of teams taking tackles, as the Patriots used their final pick of the day to get one for themselves. While others with more touted left tackle potential were quickly snapped up in the late second round, Wolf was quick to point out that he felt Wallace "definitely" has the potential to move to that side as well.

Jets first-round pick Olu Fashanu ably manned the left side for Penn State, thus Wallace never even got the chance to show his versatility to play both sides. Wallace agreed with Wolf and told reporters that he felt "super confident" that he could play the left side.

"I play every position on the line," said Wallace. "I'm just excited to get there and learn from the great coaches and get after it."

Wallace added he played left tackle at this spring's Shrine Bowl and felt his athleticism would present opportunities, something he's sure to get after receiving the call from Foxborough that he was the newest Patriot.

"It was surreal," said Wallace of getting a chance to live out his NFL dream. "Just something I've been working toward my whole life. Just crazy excited to be picked, to be picked by the Patriots, it's just been a whirlwind of a day."

With two picks in the fourth round, two picks in the sixth round and one last pick in the seventh round, the Patriots still have plenty of opportunities to continue improving their team. After crossing off their consensus three biggest needs, the team can now tack to other areas, such as running back, cornerback and edge, all spots that could use an infusion of youth.


DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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