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Deuce's Mock Draft 2.0: Pats Strike Twice in the First Round

Mike Dussault targets the Patriots two biggest needs by getting aggressive and trading back into the first round.

North Carolina QB Drake Maye and Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton
North Carolina QB Drake Maye and Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton

After focusing heavily on their own internal free agents early this spring, the Patriots needs in the 2024 NFL Draft are pretty clear, starting at the quarterback and tackle positions, where the departures of Mac Jones and Trent Brown have left sizable holes in the starting offense. Jacoby Brissett and Chukwuman Okorafor can help offset those losses, but long-term questions at those two important positions remain.

Yes, wide receiver could be listed as a significant need as well but with nine players at the position under contract, that spot is more about upgrading the quality not a sizable need simply for NFL-caliber players. As we've seen all offseason, there are three needs atop the list but it isn't easy to nail all three with immediate impact players. So here in this mock draft, I'm going all in at quarterback and tackle and letting the receiver need slide until the third round since that is arguably the deepest position group with the most talent in this year's class.

This mock is also a bit heavier on defensive players with two selections of the six going to that side of the ball. However, I see long-term needs in the front seven with many starters only under contract through 2024, so the goal is to re-establish a pipeline along the edge and defensive interior.

Otherwise, this would be a dream draft for me, adding needed depth and potential all over the offense and setting the stage for a resurgent attack.

Selection: 3rd Overall | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 223

After many months of consideration, Maye is my guy and I'll be holding my breath when the Commanders are on the clock. Simply put, I think he possesses all the potential the Patriots need and would be worth missing on if he doesn't work out, his ceiling is that high. There's so much to like from Maye, from his size and arm talent to his ability to make off-platform throws and his leadership traits as a two-time captain. It's all there if the Patriots can bring it out of him. There are things he'll need to develop, with his pocket footwork a common target of film breakdowns, as well as his sometimes erratic decision-making. But he's still just 21 years old and has plenty of growing to do across the board as he develops into a mature, measured quarterback. If he can make the kind of strides that Josh Allen made, the Patriots can set their sights on the playoffs shortly, no matter what happens at tackle or receiver, commonly accepted as the team's biggest needs outside of QB.

I refuse to believe the Patriots aren't in a position to take a quarterback considering the state of their offense. A player with Maye's talent and potential only exists in the top few picks of most drafts and that's the consolation prize of a four-win season. When you get that opportunity you can't pass it up. Let Maye lead the way for the next iteration of the Patriots offense and if it all comes together New England's offense will have the hardest piece to find in place for a long time.

Selection: 25th Overall | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 322

Projected Trade: New England receives Round 1, Pick 25. Green Bay receives Round 2, Pick 34 and Round 4, Pick 103

It seems like the Patriots can't afford to wait until their scheduled 34th overall pick to get one of the truly intriguing tackle prospects, despite an overall deep class. Whether it's Guyton, Amarius Mims or Kingsley Suamataia, the best fits are unlikely to last until the early second. Luckily PFF's mock generator accepted this trade, but it's just one example of the kind of potential deal the Pats could swing while still fill some needs later on.

Certainly, the fifth-year option at a key position like tackle is appealing and adds value to the move for New England.

Guyton is raw but has an extremely high ceiling as a potential long-term starter at either tackle spot. His size and athleticism are what stand out to me, especially as the Patriots transition to an offense under Alex Van Pelt that will likely include plenty of wide zone runs. Like Maye, Guyton will need to iron out some details but all of the requisite traits are there for him to be a long-term bookend for New England.

Selection: 68th Overall | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 202

It could be a long wait from 25th overall to 68th but with the needs at quarterback and tackle filled, the two most important boxes for this daft have been checked. Baker has been gaining some late attention, but he is just one example of some intriguing receiver prospects that should still be around in the early third round yet still have potential to be difference makers at the next level. Add Brenden Rice, Bub Means and Ja'Lynn Polk to that list.

Baker has inside/outside flexibility and possesses the kind of strong hands and contested catch ability that could give him an immediate opportunity to contribute as a unique addition to the Patriots receiver corps that already runs nine players deep yet lacks a true outside threat. He's not a burner, but he's creative in his route running and can do damage after the catch. Drops are another issue for him, but it's one that comes with the potential of true every-down receiver for the Patriots.

He has enough talent off the line that even if he doesn't have the speed to threaten defenses from the outside, he could shift inside where his attention to route detail could still help him make significant contributions.

Selection: 137th Overall | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 250

The Patriots re-signed Hunter Henry to a three-year deal and added veteran Austin Hooper on a one-year pact, so the immediate need at the tight end spot isn't as great as it was entering the new league year. However, it seems like the team would be wise to reestablish some young depth and while this isn't a great top-end draft at the tight end position, there are a number of intriguing potential Day 3 options that could make sense to add.

The choice here is the extremely athletic Sinnott, who certainly drew me in with his hockey background. At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds he has good size, enough to believe with some development and coaching his blocking will get to a plus-level. He has the skill in the passing game to already contribute and could be a moveable chess piece, especially in short-yardage situations. His surpsing athleticism could get him on the field as a contributor soon.

Selection: 180th Overall | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 250

The Patriots entered 2023 with the same depth chart they have now at outside linebacker and that depth was thinned after Matthew Judon went down. That allowed Anfernee Jennings to step into a significant role, earning a three-year contract in the process, but the team needs to build better depth in 2024.

Harrell was part of Michigan's vaunted championship defense and has slippery athleticism off the edge that allows him to put pressure on quarterbacks. He'd be a good complementary fit behind Judon, Jennings and Josh Uche, and couple potentially make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. With Judon and Uche only currently under contract for 2024, Harrell's development on early downs would be a key piece of the puzzle. He'll have to develop his strength and edge-setting ability to truly ascend to an every-down option on the edge. 

He has a lot to work with on third down already, and that's a great place to start.

Selection: 193rd Overall | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 218

The Patriots previously tapped the FCS powerhouse South Dakota State when they selected Pierre Strong and could take a similar route to provide depth in the backfield with Isaiah Davis, a thick and powerful runner with surprising agility. Davis also has some third-down potential as a quality pass catcher but is looking at significant jump in level. His decisive running style could earn him early-down reps right out of the gate.

With Rhamondre Stevenson entering the last year of his rookie deal and only Antonio Gibson joining him as Patriots backs with significant NFL experience, it seems like a no-brainer that the team must make at least one draft addition at the position. Luckily, there are plenty of other intriguing Day 3 options who could fit the bill as well, including TCU's Emani Bailey.

Selection: 231st Overall | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 301

Defensive interior is another position that doesn't have much long-term stability, with both Davon Godchaux and Deatrich Wise entering the last years of their deals and new signee Armon Watts only on a one-year pact as well.

Crumedy is a four-year starter with a ton of experience and the ideal body type to take on multiple blockers and eat up space, allowing the linebackers to make the plays. He'll probably never bring much as a pass rusher, but the need for defensive tackles with his size is glaring in 2025. He'd make a nice addition to the d-tackle room and one who could find himself emerging into a starting role by his second year if he develops.


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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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