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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu May 23 - 02:00 PM | Tue May 28 - 11:55 AM

Deuce's Patriots Big Board 2024: Top 50 Draft Fits

Here are Mike Dussault’s 50 favorite 2024 draft fits for the New England Patriots.

North Carolina QB Drake Maye (top left), Texas WR Adonai Mitchell (top right), UCF WR Javon Baker (bottom left), and South Carolina WR Xavier Legette (bottom right).
North Carolina QB Drake Maye (top left), Texas WR Adonai Mitchell (top right), UCF WR Javon Baker (bottom left), and South Carolina WR Xavier Legette (bottom right).

The 2024 NFL Draft is finally upon us and for the Patriots it's one of the most important drafts in recent history as they'll kick things off with the third-overall pick, their highest selection slot since taking Drew Bledsoe first overall in 1993.

After months of mock drafts and scouting reports, a clear path has emerged in my eyes, either take Drake Maye third, as I did in my final mock, or trade down and hit multiple needs, while acknowledging that patience is a requisite as New England looks for more elite talent.

It's hard to see how the team can thread the needle to hit on a QB of the future, a long-term starting tackle and a game-changing wide receiver all in this draft. Getting at least two of those seems of paramount importance, but at a minimum, this team needs future stars at just about any position.

Regardless of needs, these are my favorite fits, admittedly skewing heavily toward the biggest positions of need. There are plenty of intriguing players who could help jumpstart a turnaround in New England.

Here it is, the Top 50 Patriots Big Board, Year 14…

1. Drake Maye – QB – North Carolina

Yup, I'm all in on Maye. He's got the ceiling I want in the Patriots next quarterback. That doesn't mean he'll absolutely work out but he's worth missing on. The arm talent, the athleticism when it's needed, the off-platform stuff… Maye would be a ton of fun to watch immediately and at least allow Patriots fans to dream they might have a talented enough quarterback to eventually take on the NFL's best teams. Maye has some developmental strides to make, namely finding consistency, but the baseline talents are all there waiting to be developed. If he gets past Washington, I'd be running the card up to the stage.

Met with Patriots at Combine, Pro Day, Top-30 visit

2. Malik Nabers – WR – LSU

I don't really see the Patriots getting Nabers but he is this year's big board selection who just has to be on there because he's so damn good and I enjoyed watching him this spring. Now you're asking, 'Well, where's Harrison then?" Sorry, we get only one of these and I'm going with the game-changing Nabers. He's everything the Patriots have been missing in recent years, a weapon who can change the game with a single play. I know it's not going to happen, so I just hope Nabers lands in the NFC where he won't be a Patriots problem.

Met with Patriots at Pro Day

3. Joe Alt – OT – Notre Dame

Alt is as close to a can't-miss as you can get in this draft and it's at a position of huge need for the Patriots. It seems like there's an argument that Alt is an easy slam dunk that shouldn't be overthought. While not as sexy as QB or WR, securing the blindside for the foreseeable future with Alt could be the safest move of the draft for the Pats. It has to be tempting, especially if Maye goes second overall to Washington. But is third-overall too soon? Alt won't make it out of the top-10 with many projections having him land with the Titans at seven.

Met with Patriots at Combine

4. Jayden Daniels – QB – LSU

Daniels' speed is his superpower and it's enough to both intrigue and frighten as a prospect. A lack of size and an all-star supporting cast muddy the evaluation at the hardest position in the game, but the physical talent is all there and has been on display over his five college seasons. Daniels' ceiling is second only to Caleb Williams, but his floor seems below Drake Maye, hence why he comes in here at fourth. I'm still conflicted about Daniels, but would ultimately get on board if he's the pick.

Met with Patriots at Combine, Pro Day, Top-30 visit.

5. Amarius Mims – OT – Georgia

Mims is the biggest and least experienced of the top tackles this year and that could put him in a trade-down sweet spot for New England if they move toward the middle of the first round. Mims has the smarts to go with his size and surprisingly light feet. His ceiling should rank him up there with players like Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu who will go in the first 10 picks.

Texas WR Adonai Mitchell
Texas WR Adonai Mitchell

6. Adonai Mitchell – WR – Texas

A 6-foot-2 receiver with 4.34 speed, Mitchell has been turning heads this offseason and seems assured of being taken in the first round if the Patriots have a way to get to him there. Still just 21, Mitchell is a prospect who is only scratching the surface of his potential and could eventually make his mark as one of the best in this class. That potential is what the Patriots need on the outside of the offensive formations where his size and speed would consistently draw coverage attention.

7. J.J. McCarthy – QB - Michigan

I am not sure exactly how the Patriots could get McCarthy at a spot where he makes sense to me, like in the mid-teens, but he has enough tools at a position of major need that I have to include him here. He's athletic and looks the part even if he hasn't demonstrated everything he'll need to do in the NFL to be successful. Based on recent draft buzz McCarthy seems expected to go in the Top-10, but if he were to fall and the Pats were to trade down a bit, I could see a scenario where it might come together. I'd be hesitant to take him before the mid first round, there are too many other better bets at other positions, unfortunately of lesser need.

Met with Patriots at Combine, Pro Day, Top-30 visit

8. Tyler Guyton – OT – Oklahoma

The Patriots might have to trade back up into the first round to get a chance at Guyton, another tackle prospect this year with a lot of athleticism. Guyton could remain on the right side where he started nine games in his final season, and that could limit his ceiling for the Patriots, who have more of a glaring need on the left side. But Guyton has the traits to earn consideration on the left side as well and that could make him a valuable target for the Patriots.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

Houston OT Patrick Paul
Houston OT Patrick Paul

9. Patrick Paul – OT – Houston

A monstrous tackle, Paul is a two-time captain with plenty of left tackle snaps. He's definitely one of the second-level tackles this year, one who is further along as a pass blocker than a run blocker, but his size and length make him an easy projection to the Patriots, especially early on Day 2. Paul would provide a needed presence at tackle but could need some time to develop.

10. Darius Robinson – Edge – Missouri

This year's highest-ranked defender is still unlikely to land in New England as a late-Day 1, early-Day 2 option but it's fun to imagine what a disruptive and versatile player like Robinson could bring to the Patriots front. Somewhat similar to Keion White, Robinson is likely destined for a role along the defensive line, but he's athletic enough to stand up a bit as well. He can cause issues for offensive lines from any spot and would be a welcome addition to a group of Patriots pass rushers that still feels light on depth and long-term outlook.

11. Xavier Leggette – WR – South Carolina

Leggette is 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, and ran a 4:39 40, as he checks every box on paper that a wide receiver can check. Considering his second-round projection and talent to play on the outside, Leggette could be the perfect combination of fit and ranking, and that is why he's a popular mock draft target for the Pats. His size and strength are badly needed in the Patriots receiver room where he'd instantly add a new dynamic to a room filled with quick inside receivers.

Met with Patriots at Combine

12. Kingsley Suamataia – OT – BYU

Suamataia likely doesn't have the foot speed to be a left tackle, but he's got everything else you're looking for from a blocker up front, including a nasty disposition and a lot of strength. With Michael Onwenu back it could push the need for a player like Suamataia down the draft board but he's a heck of a tough player and one who could potentially allow Onwenu to land back at guard.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

13. Mike Sainristil – DB – Michigan

If this wasn't a year the Patriots needed major help on offense, Sainristil might already be penciled onto the Patriots roster. Versatile, physical and edgy, he's a ball hawk who could play all over New England's secondary. Add in his local roots in Everett, MA and he is one of the best Patriots fits this draft season. He would be an ideal fit in the slot right out of the gate.

14. Ja'Lynn Polk – WR – Washington

Polk might be a little overshadowed by Rome Odunze but he seems like a great Day 2 option to take a swing on. He runs nice routes and features strong hands and just simply looks the part of a receiver with enough size and speed to make an impact at the NFL level. He might not be a burner but I think he'll have a long consistent all-around career. One of my favorites of the fits.

15. Jordan Morgan – OT – Arizona

Morgan is an athletic tackle prospect who could be available for the Patriots in the early second round. He's not quite as pro-ready as some of the first-round options but he has the size, length and feet to develop into a quality blindside protector, although his projection is risky, he could ultimately land at guard.

16. Max Melton – CB – Rutgers

"Mad Max" was one of my favorite cornerbacks to watch this season as he's a physical man corner who doesn't back down. He played inside and outside and ran a 4.39 40 that should help him stick with anyone. He's got instincts and is aggressive, especially in zone. It's hard to see him landing with the Patriots but he'd be a great addition to the cornerback room if the team could harness his talent and develop his consistency.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

17. Braelon Allen – RB – Wisconsin

At 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, Allen is a big powerful back coming off a down year in a new system that could impact his draft status. He has enough speed to get away from defenders but is much more adept at running over them. Still just 20 years old, he has a lot of good football ahead of him coupled with additional physical growth that should make him an NFL beast. He'd make a nice complement to Rhamondre Stevenson and Antonio Gibson.

18. Malachi Corley – WR – W. Kentucky

Corley plays like a running back and has some Deebo to his game that should intrigue anyone who watches him. He's really tough with the ball in his hands, a hard charger after the catch who plays with vision and power. He might not be the outside receiver the Pats need but he could contribute in a lot of useful ways even if he's a bit redundant to what's already on the roster.

19. Kamari Lassiter – CB – Georgia

Cornerback isn't a top need for the Patriots but Lassiter would make a nice schematic fit as a solid man-to-man corner that plays with an edge. He's really smooth on the move and that's why he could even shift to some safety responsibilities as well. He allowed just a 38.5 completion percentage against, the second-lowest rate in FBS.

20. Maason Smith – DE – LSU

Smith is a good defensive fit but will probably go before the Patriots can grab him. He projects to a 3-4 defensive end spot where his size and length would enable to him to take on tackles and eat up blocks. Due to injuries in 2021 and 2022, Smith is just scratching the surface of his potential. He has a high floor and a three-down ceiling.

North Carolina WR Devontez Walker
North Carolina WR Devontez Walker

21. Tez Walker – WR – UNC

Walker's 4.36 40 at the Combine put him on this board, but I have some concerns that he'll be limited in the pros to just an outside go/slant/comeback receiver. But if his speed translates, I think the Patriots would take it as a developmental X receiver, especially if they were to land Drake Maye earlier on.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

22. Javon Baker – WR – UCF

Baker is tough with the ball in his hands and offers some versatility and size but lacks elite speed that could make push him further up draft boards. Still, there's a lot to like and enough speed to allow him to do a variety of different things on offense. He understands routes and consistently makes plays on the ball.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit.

23. Cade Stover – TE – Ohio State

A former defensive player, Stover still plays with that kind of edge despite being more effective as a pass catcher at this point. His athleticism stands out as do his consistent hands but he'll need to fully embrace a blocking role to develop into an all-around Y.

24. Austin Booker – Edge – Minnesota

Booker burst onto the scene this year with 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks despite only starting one game and amassing just 505 career snaps in college. He's raw and inexperienced but he has every trait you look for on the edge, already possessing several pass rush moves that should translate to the next level. With some time to develop he could be an absolute steal.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

25. Blake Fisher – OT – Notre Dame

The other tackle from Notre Dame isn't quite the can't-miss stud that Joe Alt is, but Blake Fisher is an impressive athlete with good size in his own right. If the Patriots look to double-dip at the tackle spot, Fisher would be a nice mid-round addition who checks all the measurable boxes.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

26. Isaiah Davis – RB – South Dakota

The Pats took a swing on a South Dakota back a couple years ago and they could do it again with the mauling runner Davis. He packs a lot of power in his 218-pound frame and has surprisingly smooth hands for someone who has the build of an early-down back. The jump in competition is something to consider, but Davis has a high ceiling if he can make that jump.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

27. Nelson Caesar – Edge – Houston

Caesar is a powerful edge player who would make a nice rotational piece for a sparse position group that needs reinforcement. The 2023 captain might never develop into a three-down player, but has enough size and length to offer possibilities both on early downs and in passing situations.

Kansas St. TE Ben Sinnott
Kansas St. TE Ben Sinnott

28. Ben Sinnott – TE – Kansas State

A personal favorite this year, Sinnott is a highly athletic tight end who will have to develop his all-around game but could make an immediate impact in the passing game. A former hockey player, he plays with an edge and ranked in the top five at the Combine in Production Score, Athleticism Score and Overall Score. It's not a great tight end class, but Sinnott is one mid-round player I really like. In a down year for tight ends, Sinnott could be the second or third one off the board.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

29. Brenden Rice – WR – USC

With the Patriots' dearth of interior receivers, they'll need to consider later-round developmental outside players like Rice, who at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds is a physical receiver who has a knack for catching touchdowns. He won't blow by anyone, but he has the pedigree and experience to consider a high-ceiling developmental X-receiver.

Alabama edge Justin Eboigbe
Alabama edge Justin Eboigbe

30. Justin Eboigbe – DE – Alabama

One of the more obvious fits this year considering his ability and pedigree, Eboigbe isn't flashy but will do the dirty work that the Patriots ask of their defensive lineman, taking on multiple blockers and letting the second-level players make the plays. He could play several defensive line spots and has the high-level experience that should aid his development in the NFL.

31. Bralen Trice – Edge – Washington

A physical edge player with some versatility to his game, Trice has a bit of Mike Vrabel in him. A hard-working captain who let his play do the talking, Trice led his team in sacks and tackles-for-loss the last two seasons. He could make a lot sense for the Pats defense if he were to fall into early Day 3. He'll need to develop his pass rush skills to truly round out his game.

32. Dominic Puni – OL – Kansas

Puni is probably going to be a guard at the NFL level and that's not a huge need for the Pats, however he's just so bloody versatile that he has to be someone to consider. His plus athleticism could help him garner consideration at tackle, the spot the Pats truly need, but it's not hard to see his versatility coming in useful even at a position that was well-stocked the last two seasons.

33. Ainias Smith – WR – Texas A&M

Smith is a route running technician who is undersized but hard to define as he's far more sturdy than his size might indicate. Regardless, he's dangerous with the ball in his hands and is still ascending. Perhaps limited to a slot/gadget role, Smith doesn't necessarily fit the Pats biggest WR needs but he could make an impact.

Met with Patriots at Pro Day

34. Jamari Thrash – WR – Louisville

Thrash is an inside/outside receiver with good speed but better elusiveness off the line. He's a late Day 2/Day 3 option who has enough traits to consider development as an outside receiver who can stretch the field with explosive plays. He'll need to get stronger to fight off NFL DBs, but there's a fair amount to work with.

TCU TE Jared Wiley
TCU TE Jared Wiley

35. Jared Wiley – TE – TCU

One of my favorite Day 3 fits (if he makes it to Day 3), Wiley has the size and potential to develop far beyond his draft status. He's big and physical and reliable as a pass catcher, and after some time as a TE3 could become an every-down tight end. He has all-around "Y" potential. He could step into an immediate role.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

36. Jordan Jefferson – DT – LSU

Jefferson has good size but might not be the usual two-gapping fit for the Pats defensive line. Still, he can get off the field surprisingly well for his size and has enough traits to develop and round out his game. He'd be a nice Day 3 depth addition at a spot of long-term need, especially if the team isn't able to retain Christian Barmore long-term.

37. Dylan Laube – RB – UNH

Laube has four-down potential despite making a jump from FCS, where he was a nightmare for opposing defenses. At the very least he catches the ball well enough to garner third-down back consideration and he should bring even more value with the new kickoff return rules.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

38. Jordan Travis – QB – Florida State

Travis is small and coming off a broken leg, but his leadership traits and development in recent seasons are reason to believe he could be worth taking a developmental shot on. Smart, with a good feel for the position, Travis can offset his limitations. It's always good business to develop quarterbacks and Travis could be a nice piece to plug into the pipeline.

39. Dallin Holker – TE – Colorado State

Holker doesn't have true "Y" size but his athleticism makes him an early Day 3 prospect who should make an impact in the passing game. With nearly 34-inch arms, Holker has unique length and uses it to be a reliable pass catcher who could step right into a role.

40. Jaylen Harrell – OLB – Michigan

Somewhat like Josh Uche, Harrell projects initially to a designated pass rusher, however he has enough size to consider he might develop into a true outside linebacker if he can improve his early-down traits. He's quick off the line and has a nice spin move that got him to the quarterback in college. He could use those skills immediately in the NFL, there's always a need for them.

Pittsburgh WR Bub Means
Pittsburgh WR Bub Means

41. Bub Means – WR – Pitt

Means is a great option for a developmental outside receiver, as he's an impressive mix of size (6-foot-2) and speed (4.43 40). He could be employed on the outside where his length and speed could challenge defenses as he continues to develop.

42. Jalen Coker – WR – Holy Cross

As a Holy Cross grad I had to include Coker here but this is no charity case, Coker is a legit athlete with a 42.5" vertical. That skill was on display every game for the Crusaders where he feasted on contested catches. He has enough speed to survive on the outside if he can learn to get off the line in the NFL and refine his route running. He has too much athleticism and size to not consider.

Met with Patriots at Shrine Bowl, Local Pro Day

43. Travis Glover – OT – Georgia State

Glover missed just one game out of a possible 60 at Georgia State, playing left tackle with ideal NFL size and length. His lack of quick feet will drop him to Day 3, but he has intriguing talent and size that could make him a worthwhile developmental piece.

Met with Patriots Hula Bowl, Private Workout, Top-30 visit

44. C.J. Hanson – OG – Holy Cross

Keeping the Holy Cross train rolling here with the ultra-athletic Hanson, one of the only interior offensive linemen to make the top 50 this year after the Pats took three such players in 2023. The FCS product graded out as the 13th most athletic guard at the Scouting Combine and plays with an edge. With some time to develop his strength he could become a solid starter, especially in a zone scheme that gets him out in space.

Met with Patriots at Shrine Bowl

45. Julian Pearl – OT – Illinois

With a big need at tackle, Pearl is the kind of raw athlete with good size that makes sense to spend a Day 3 flier on. At 6-foot-6, 312 pounds with 35 1/8" arms, Pearl certainly looks the part but must continue to build upon the 23 consecutive starts he's made at left tackle at Illinois.

46. Jalyx Hunt – ED – Houston Christian

Highly athletic and former Ivy League safety, Hunt is a developmental edge player with plus traits and special teams savvy. THE SLC Defensive Player of the Year has a full sense of the defense after playing multiple positions and he still has some growing to do that could add to his intriguing potential.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

47. Nathaniel Watson – LB – Mississippi St.

Watson could immediately make an impact on special teams at the next level, but also features some linebacker potential with good speed, size and tackling ability. He had 16 sacs and 25 tackles-for-loss over his last two seasons.

Met with Patriots Top-30 visit

48. Sione Vaki – RB/DB/ST – Utah

Some guys just scream Patriots and Vaki is one of them as a safety who filled in at running back and didn't look out of place when the team needed him. As a safety, he's a plus tackler, which certainly translates to special teams. Vaki is a do-it-all team guy and a clear Patriots fit.

Met with Patriots at Senior Bowl

49. Jaden Crumedy – DT – Mississippi State

A powerful interior defensive tackle with four years of experience, Crumedy is an ideal fit as a two-gapper. His stack-and-shed ability is apparent and will only improve with NFL coaching and he has enough juice to get some push against the pass as well.

50. Tip Reiman – TE – Illinois

A behemoth tight end at 271 pounds, Reiman went from walk-on to captain in his time at Illinois. He's definitely more of a run blocker than the kind of balanced "Y" you'd hope for at the top of the draft, but his skill set is an easy complementary fit behind Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper.

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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