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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed May 29 - 04:00 PM | Thu May 30 - 09:55 AM

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

Here are Evan Lazar's 50 favorite 2024 draft fits for the New England Patriots.

LSU QB Jayden Daniels (top left), North Carolina QB Drake Maye (top right), Michigan QB JJ McCarthy (bottom left), and Ohio St. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (bottom right)
LSU QB Jayden Daniels (top left), North Carolina QB Drake Maye (top right), Michigan QB JJ McCarthy (bottom left), and Ohio St. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (bottom right)

It's time for my sixth annual Patriots top-50 big board, where we'll rank the best fits for New England in the 2024 NFL Draft.

After a comprehensive deep dive into the draft, here are my best fits for New England in this year's class, with an eye towards potential selections for the Patriots in the top 100. As a reminder, we don't include prospects out of the Patriots reach in the first round, so you will not see projected first-overall draft pick Caleb Williams, who is expected to be a Chicago Bear.

Instead, we will focus on realistic targets where the Patriots will be picking in each round who fit New England's needs based on film study, scheme fit, athletic testing, intangibles, and other trends. Over the previous five drafts, the big board hit on the following players: Christian Gonzalez, Marcus Jones, Mac Jones, Christian Barmore, Josh Uche, N'Keal Harry, Chase Winovich, and Damien Harris.

Prospects are ranked based on my film grade, not where they're projected to go in the draft. This is a big board, not a mock draft, so we aren't weighing positional value as heavily. There might be players who are lower on the board than you're expecting.

Here are the top Patriots fits in the 2024 NFL Draft based on my rankings of this year's class:

1. QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Round Projection: Top-Five Pick, NFL Potential: Franchise Quarterback

The draft industrial complex is painting Maye as a mechanically broken prospect destined to be a bust. However, he's been QB2 in this class since the 2022 season, with correctable footwork issues. Maye needs to refine his footwork and timing in his drops to cut down on the sprays on routine throws. But his 78 big-time throws led college football over the last two seasons. As a cross between Josh Allen and Justin Herbert as a prospect, every team is chasing the physical tools Maye possesses with top-five player at the position upside. At only 21 years old, Maye has the elite arm talent, mobility, and a prototypical build (6-4, 223) to drive the ball through Foxboro winters for years to come. Read my full film review here.

2. QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

Round Projection: Top-Five Pick, NFL Potential: Franchise Quarterback

Daniels has the type of mobility that you can build your scheme around offensively and will keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. The LSU product was responsible for a whopping 103 explosive plays in his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 2023. Daniels is more straight-line speed than jitterbug quick, but when he sees a crease, he gone, racking up an FBS-best 721 scramble yards and 529 yards on designed runs.

As a passer, Daniels is mechanically tied together with an efficient release to produce three-level accuracy with excellent timing and touch on the deep ball. He's also a fully capable full-field processor who can progress from first read to check-down. However, his passing profile has some red flags. Daniels passes up too many open throws between the numbers, only targeting the intermediate middle in 9.3% of his pass attempts. The hesitancy or lack of anticipatory throws led to the highest pressure-to-sack rate among first-round (projected) QBs since 2019 (24.5%). Daniels's lanky frame at 6-3, 210 pounds, average arm talent by NFL standards, and tendency to take big hits also make his NFL projection more murky.

With that said, it's easy to envision building a productive offense around his elite mobility and steady accuracy from the pocket, making Daniels worthy of a top pick. Read my full film review here.

3. WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Round Projection: Top-10 Pick, NFL Potential: Instant Star/Foundational Player

If positional value was a complete non-factor here, Harrison is my second-highest graded player in the draft, only behind projected first-round pick Caleb Williams. Along with having NFL bloodlines, Harrison's appeal is that he can play any brand of receiver a team asks of him.

At 6-3, 209 pounds, Harrison could dominate with the vast majority of his snaps on the outside as a vertical threat. Harrison's in-game athleticism scored in the 96th percentile with sudden press releases, vertical juice to threaten over the top, plus-ball skills to win at the catch point, and excellent start-stop ability to create separation on slants, digs, curls, and comeback routes off vertical stems. If you want him to play as a big-bodied X receiver, consider that box checked.

Along with the length, speed, and ball skills to play on the outside, the fun really starts with Harrison's ability to play like a much smaller receiver with big receiver measurables. His separation quickness through the top of routes is insane for his size, allowing Ohio State to move him inside to hunt matchups and free releases on 71 routes last year (19.4%).

Due to his route-running, game speed, and alignment versatility, my pro comparison for Harrison is Davante Adams. We throw the word generational around too much, but Harrison might be a generational prospect.

4. OT Joe Alt, Notre Dame

Round Projection: Top-10 Pick, NFL Potential: Instant Star/Foundational Player

If you could design a human in a lab to play left tackle in the NFL, the computer would produce Joe Alt. The Notre Dame product has rare movement skills (9.93 RAS), body control, and lower-body flexibility in a 6-8 321-pound frame. Alt's feet are outstanding, with smooth lateral slides, change of direction ability, balance, and length (34.25" arms) to mirror pass rushers on an island. His height doesn't work as a deterrent in the run game because he's so flexible, which allows him to bend naturally to create leverage points. Alt isn't a people mover, and some evaluators wish he had more snarl to his game. However, this scribe sees patience, allowing him to play under control and balanced. Taking a tackle with their first-round pick might not be popular, but Alt will be a franchise left tackle.

5. WR Malik Nabers, LSU

Round Projection: Top-10 Pick, NFL Potential: Instant Star/Foundational Player

Although we've had Harrison Jr. as WR1 wire-to-wire, some evaluators believe Nabers is in the same neighborhood as MHJ. Nabers's 4.35-speed, or 99th percentile in-game athleticism score (via PFF), plays at all three levels to produce explosives on a regular basis. He has the route-running savvy to separate underneath, with absurd take-off speed as a ball carrier, forcing 30 missed tackles while producing 589 yards after the catch. Nabers also has the build-up speed to pull away from defenders, especially when he sees off-coverage in the slot, to create explosives as a vertical threat.

The LSU product is the type of big-play receiver that defensive coordinators will need to game plan for every week, which is why there could be teams that see him as WR1. In many ways, it's a Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams debate between Harrison and Nabers: do you want the prototypical size with all-around polish (MHJ) or the game-breaker (Nabers)? Either way, you can't go wrong.

6. WR Rome Odunze, Washington

Round Projection: Top-10 Pick, NFL Potential: Instant Star/Foundational Player

The last of the "big three" at wide receiver in this year's draft, Odunze has the ideal traits to blossom into an elite outside receiver at the next level. Odunze combines high-end athleticism with a 9.92 relative athletic score and good size for large exposures at the X spot (6-3, 212). Although he has 4.45 speed to tap into, Odunze is a craftsman who is excellent at pacing his routes to set up defenders through the break. He also has superb body control and hands to adjust for silky smooth catches outside his frame on back shoulder fades while working the sideline. Odunze doesn't create separation like MHJ and Nabers, but with his catch radius and play strength, there's plenty of space for a quarterback to target him at a high volume. My pro comparison is DeAndre Hopkins.

7. OT Olu Fashanu, Penn State

Round Projection: Top-15 Pick, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter

There's some debate about whether Fashanu is the consensus OT2 or if that mantle belongs to Oregon State's Taliese Fagua. However, for the Patriots, Fashanu's prototypical traits at left tackle are more enticing than a projected right tackle in Fagua. Fashanu isn't as polished with his technique as Alt, but his chizzled frame gives starting left tackle vibes when he walks off the bus at the stadium. He's also a plus-athlete with sudden footwork and a stout anchor in pass protection to handle being one-on-one as the blindside protector. The tape against Ohio State wasn't great (allowed six hurries), and he falls off run blocks more than you'd like, but the 21-year-old has all the physical tools to continue improving. Fashanu will start as a rookie and likely hold down the position for an extended period.

LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) runs for a touchdown during an NCAA football game against New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

8. WR Brian Thomas, Jr., LSU

Round Projection: Top-20 Pick, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/WR1 Potential

The "other" LSU receiver shouldn't be overlooked as another potential WR1 in an NFL offensive hierarchy. We seem to be underrating how absurd it was that BTJ ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at nearly 6-3, 209 pounds at the combine. That puts Thomas in some rare company with a 99th percentile size-adjusted speed score. Plus, he went off in his breakout season for the Tigers with 1,177 receiving yards and FBS-leading 17 touchdowns.

Thomas's big-play speed is all over the tape. He has impressive lateral quickness at the line of scrimmage to slither around press coverage and excellent ball skills to unlock his long arms and create a large catch radius for quarterbacks to drop it in the bucket. Thomas can also use his vertical burst to set up in-breaking routes, showing enough sink-and-cut to create separation.

My pro comparison for BTJ is skinny DK Metcalf because he can blow by single coverage with sheer explosiveness or force defenses to play with safety help over the top. Although unlikely, a trade-up from No. 34 to pair Daniels and BTJ together in the pros would be fun.

9. OT Amarius Mims, Georgia

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter

If we are going off physical tools and a small sample size on film, Mims is a top-half of the first-round prospect with an easy first-round grade. However, he only made seven career starts at Georgia after waiting his turn behind the likes of Broderick Jones, with only 803 career snaps in college. Mims suffered a high-ankle injury that cut his 2023 season short, which was supposed to be the year he was a full-time starter.

On the one hand, you need a solidified general manager and coach to make a first-round pick based on 803 snaps. But, on the other hand, Mims is a freak of nature, standing at nearly 6-foot-8, 340 pounds with over 36-inch arms and fluid movement skills. He's already a high-level pass protector who uses his length and hand strength to end reps quickly while his first three steps out of his stance create a solid corner to the pocket. Mims can also block in space with decent body control to get out in front of screens or climb to the second level.

The situation that might play out in the Patriots favor is that his tightrope surgery on his ankle last season and limited tape could push Mims down the board. If he's available at pick No. 34, Mims is a classic first-round talent with an incomplete grade that causes him to slide. It would be a gamble for new decision-makers, but the payoff could be huge. Mims is certainly a tier above the next wave of OTs like Jordan Morgan, Kingsley Suamataia, and Patrick Paul.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. warms up before the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game between Washington and Michigan Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Houston.

10. QB Michael Penix, Washington

Round Projection: Top-50 Pick, NFL Potential: Above-Average NFL Starter

While understanding this is against the grain and contradicts mock drafts, I've had Penix as my QB4 over McCarthy throughout the process. The Washington product has all the same intangible qualities as McCarthy as the runner up to the Heisman and national championship. His leadership, competitive drive, and mental toughness to overcome four season-ending injuries will win over the locker room.

On film, the ball jumps out of Penix's hand with a three-quarters release to drive the ball into NFL-sized windows. He also has a case as the best deep-ball thrower in this class, leading the FBS in big-time throws last season (43). Besides the injury history and advanced age (24-year-old rookie), there are warning signs that Penix could struggle under pressure at the next level, as his accuracy takes a hit in those situations. He also doesn't regularly layer throwers or anticipate open receivers between the numbers. Still, as a pure passer, Penix is near the top of this class.

After sending a smaller contingent led by college scouting director Camren Williams to attend his Pro Day, the Patriots reportedly are hosting Penix on a 30-visit this week. That's notable given that New England's top brass has been mainly focused on Maye, Daniels, and our next quarterback in the rankings, J.J. McCarthy. Penix could be a target for the Patriots in a trade-down scenario, so it makes sense that Eliot Wolf and company are doing their homework.

11. QB J.J. McCarthy, Michigan

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Above-Average NFL Starter

We're willing to be lower on McCarthy than the league seems to be, and in a few years, we'll see who ends up being right. That's not to say I know more than NFL teams, but I've seen the league over-value the "it" factor that these winning quarterbacks at the collegiate level get credit for when they're playing on loaded rosters. I don't see the ceiling for McCarthy at the next level to take him third overall, with a more accurate landing spot based on film grade being in the 10-15 range (Vikings, Broncos, Raiders).

McCarthy isn't a big-time playmaker as a one-speed (fastball) thrower who lacks touch and control. He has moments where he'll extend plays, with his best traits being his pocket movement and ability to drive the ball from clean pockets. But he's not a dynamic off-script artist. He too often has tunnel vision for his first read, forcing throws into unnecessarily tight windows while leaving bigger plays on the field. McCarthy could be an above-average starter in the Brock Purdy mold. Does that skill set make him worth the third overall pick? No. Read my full film review here.

12. WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Rookie Impact/WR1 Potential

I'm a big believer in Mitchell's game for a few reasons. Mainly, separation quickness and route-running prowess in a bigger frame consistently translates to the next level. Mitchell is a 6-2, 205-pound outside receiver with the fluidity to change directions like a much smaller receiver. At the same time, he also has 4.34 speed to separate over the top, which shows up consistently on double moves set up by his in-breaking routes, and a 39.5-inch vertical to win above the rim. The Texas product has a well-rounded skill set with all the tools to be a high-volume X receiver at the next level. The only knocks on film are that he doesn't always play to his timed speed and needs to be more consistent with his effort level overall. Mitchell's pro ceiling is as high as any tier-two receiver in this class. My pro comparison is Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.

13. WR Xavier Worthy, Texas

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Rookie Impact/WR1 Potential

Although it's a nice feather in his cap that he ran a record-breaking 4.21-second 40-yard dash, Worthy is much more than a track star – this isn't Tyquan Thornton or John Ross 2.0. Worthy is a bursty route-runner that can create horizontal and vertical separation. He has jitterbug quickness to separate underneath, stretches the field horizontally on crossers, can take off in YAC mode (7.6 YAC avg.), and is an elite vertical field-stretcher. His game is more stretched-out Zay Flowers than Ross or Thornton. Although teams will have to scheme around his slight frame (165 pounds), the Dolphins gave everyone a blueprint on how to get these speed guys into the open field by hunting free releases with motion and alignment. Worthy's speed has an in-game impact that will translate to the pro level.

14. DB Cooper DeJean, Iowa

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter

DeJean would be an unpopular first-round pick for the Patriots that only seems likely if they take Minnesota's double-ones in a trade-down package (pick No. 23). However, he's a three-phase player with enticing versatility in the defensive backfield as well, which is where he'll find a primary home in the NFL. DeJean's long-term position might be as a nickel/safety hybrid due to hip stiffness in his transitions to play on the outside. However, he's a terrific athlete with the long speed, size (6-0, 203), and explosiveness to play all over the secondary.

My vision for the Iowa product in the Patriots defense would be to use him as a chess piece week-to-week. With last year's first-round pick Christian Gonzalez taking the other teams WR1, DeJean can wear whatever hat he needs to at safety or corner in any given week, seving as a great complement to Gonzo. Plus, he'll compete for reps as a return man and has some Marcus Jones gadget player qualities. If there's any Belichick DNA left in the front office, DeJean will be on their board — he has classic Pats traits of versatility, IQ, and competitive toughness.

Oklahoma offensive lineman Tyler Guyton (60) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tulsa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

15. OT Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

Round Projection: First Round, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter

Guyton is the last of the likely day-one offensive tackles on my board. There's a lot to like about his long, athletic frame and patience in his pass sets. Guyton has a very stout anchor in pass protection and above-average length (34.125" arms) combined with light feet from his basketball background to mirror pass-rushers on an island. He also plays with good pop in his hands to generate movement in the run game, especially when he gets on a double-team or combos up to the second level. As enticing as the physical tools are, Guyton is raw, with only nine career starts at Oklahoma. He's prone to over-setting and getting off-balance, which leads to too many quick losses, and he needs to continue working on his technique to combat his naturally high pads at 6-foot-7. Guyton has all the physical tools to be a long-term starter. But there will be some growing pains.

16. WR Keon Coleman, Florida State

Round Projection: Top-50 Pick, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/WR1 Potential (but with risk)

The age-old debate about in-game play speed versus the 40-yard dash continues. Frankly, Coleman is not my cup of tea at the receiver position. Although his 93rd percentile in-game athleticism score makes you feel better about his 4.61-second 40-yard dash, he's a builder of speed who graded poorly in separation quickness and route running. Coleman is a clunky mover at the top of the route, playing more of a bully-ball style at 6-3, 213 pounds.

Despite some flashy highlights at the catch point, Coleman only caught 33.3% of his contested targets last season (10-of-30). I'm told this is an explosive open-field athlete with high-end ball skills, but Coleman doesn't play to that profile often enough for my liking. Coleman's game reminds me way too much of N'Keal Harry at ASU. The potential is there for Coleman, who still hasn't turned 21 years old yet. However, I'm more about the route-running technicians than receivers in the Coleman mold.

17. WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/WR1 Potential (but with risk)

My first exposure to Legette came at the Senior Bowl, where he struggled to separate all week in practice. However, his game grew on me after revisiting his tape following a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 221 pounds. Legette doesn't have very many branches to his route tree as a space player with build-up speed on verticals and catch-and-run ability to eat up yards after the catch. He also had a late breakout at South Carolina with 1,255 yards and seven scores in his fifth season (423 yards in first four years). The 23-year-old is a boom or bust prospect: he's either the next Deebo Samuel or Laviska Shenault, which is worth a day-two gamble.

18. CB Mike Sainristil, Michigan

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/High-Impact Player

As a local product from Everett, MA, Sainristil has the cover talent and aggressiveness to blossom into a standout corner. He'll likely find a permanent home in the slot, but Sainristil held his own playing on the boundary and could play outside when matched up against specific body types. Sainristil is a strappy man coverage player with great ball skills and long speed to carry vertical routes from the slot while also having excellent awareness from zone coverage. Although he's got a smaller frame (5-9. 182), Sainristil can lay the wood as a downhill striker and plays the run like a much bigger player. He'd be a great long-term replacement for Jonathan Jones in the Patriots secondary.

19. WR Ladd McConkey, Georgia

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/WR2 Potential

Based on the film, I'd usually have a player with McConkey's skill set higher in my rankings. He's a silky smooth route-runner with excellent vertical burst to open up defensive backs for horizontal breaks. The Georgia product runs more vertical stems on the outside than the stereotypes would suggest, with legit acceleration off the line that DBs have to respect. But he ultimately wins with stop-on-a-dime change of direction ability at the first two levels. The reason he's not higher on my wide receiver rankings is some struggles playing through contact at 5-11, 186 pounds, and a lack of tape due to injuries. McConkey was highly efficient, catching 30-of-37 targets for 483 yards last season. But he missed games due to ankle and back injuries in 2023. The 22-year-old has first-round traits, but there's too much risk to take him that high. At No. 34, you can get behind the Patriots taking McConkey there.

20. WR Roman Wilson, Michigan

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter/WR2 Potential

Wilson is one of "my guys" in this draft with a clear projection for high-volume NFL production. The Michigan product has chain-moving quickness, excellent speed to create horizontal separation working across the field, and reliable hands to make catches in traffic outside his frame. Michigan moved him all over the formation and often put him in motion at the snap, with a role that resembles Lions All-Pro receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. St. Brown is better as a ball carrier than Wilson, but they ran very similar route trees. Wilson's stock would be much higher if he was in a pass-heavy offense. He has a 100-catch season in his near NFL future.

21. OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/High-Upside Prospect

Suamataia is the day-two tackle I'm pounding on the table for the Patriots to select. The BYU product moves like his cousin, Penei Sewell, without the technical polish that made Sewell the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Suamataia is a dynamic on-the-move blocker at left or right tackle with excellent lateral quickness out of his stance for zone schemes and rare athleticism in space on pulls, climbs, and screens. He also has the desired footspeed in his pass sets to mirror and match pass rushers on an island. However, he'll sometimes lose his technique, playing out of control, and needs to rework his hand carriage to keep them inside the frame of pass rushers. Suamataia won't likely be a day-one starter, but he has the highest upside among the day-two guys.

22. OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter in a Zone Scheme

Morgan is on the other end of the spectrum as Suamataia, with more technical polish to start as a rookie. Although he has tackle feet as a great lateral mover for zone schemes, Morgan falls below the threshold in arm length (32 ⅞"). Morgan told me at the combine that he had to rework his hand usage due to injury, so maybe his wide hands that exposed his chest won't be a factor. But you do see his lack of length show up on tape, as he struggled to establish first meaningful contact and keep pass-rushers out of his chest. Morgan is a scheme fit for AVP's offense due to his zone-blocking prowess, but there's a strong possibility that he will move inside to guard at the next level.

23. TE Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas

Round Projection: Round Two, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Sanders is a flex tight end who will stretch the middle of the field, is savvy enough to work open in zone coverage, and presents high-end YAC value with a 7.7 YAC average last season. In a bootleg/play-action-heavy scheme, it's easy to see Sanders exploding past the second level up the seam, out-running defenders on crossers, or getting chunks of yards on passes into the flats as the Patriots version of David Njoku. However, Sanders is not an in-line blocker and offers little wiggle at the top of routes. Still, you like his fit in AVP's offense.

24. WR Ja'Lynn Polk, Washington

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker/WR2 Potential

Although he's not the flashiest receiver in this class, Polk does all the little things well. His best trait is his magnet hands at the catch point, where he plays much bigger than his size (6-1, 203) to climb the ladder and finish through contact. Those strong mitts and good play strength throughout the route allow him to stack and finish on vertical routes or catch the ball in traffic working over the middle of the field. He also has sneaky juice after the catch. There's some Kendrick Bourne to his game.

25. WR Ricky Pearsall, Florida

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker/WR2 Potential

Slick Rick lives up to his nickname as a dynamic route-runner with 4.41 speed to separate on crossers as a horizontal field-stretcher and excellent ball skills to adjust to off-target throws and finish in traffic. Pearsall needs to cut down on wasted movement at the top of routes, where he can be a little too clunky to create separation on sharp cuts. He also doesn't play to his athleticism often enough (9.91 RAS). But the flashes of route-running, ball skills, and speed should play well as a primary slot receiver in the Julian Edelman mold.

26. EDGE Austin Booker, Kansas

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/High-Upside Prospect

Despite playing only 505 career snaps in college, Booker is one of the more well-schooled edge rushers in his tier. He's an explosive counter rusher with a lanky frame who will need to add weight. But his twitched-up movements give him a consistent two-way go while he's very well-versed in how to use his length to keep tackles from getting into his frame. Booker's flexibility/bend allows him to dip and slip blocks in various ways, with his inside spin/arm over counter as a devastating move set up by his speed/long-arm. Booker's tape against Texas OTs Kelvin Banks and Christian Jones, two NFL prospects, was impressive (sack, three hurries, four stops). You're just banking on a tiny sample size here.

Houston offensive lineman Patrick Paul (76) blocks against Kansas State defensive end Khalid Duke (29) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

27. OT Patrick Paul, Houston

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/Developmental Prospect

Despite making 44 career starts in college, Paul is still a developmental prospect. Paul can eclipse rushers with his 6-7, 331-pound frame and end the rush early by stalling rushers with over 36-inch arms. He's a huge dude with enough foot quickness at his size and is a mean finisher. However, his hand technique needs to be completely reworked as he tends to bear hug rushers rather than get inside with a stiff punch to the chest. He also plays with high pads and tends to lunge into contact. Paul needs significant technique work but has a massive frame with starting-caliber movement skills and play strength.

28. QB Bo Nix, Oregon

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Average Starting Quarterback

The appeal with Nix is that you know exactly what you're getting with the 24-year-old. Nix is generally accurate to all three levels, can execute the schemed open throws within structure, and has enough arm talent and mobility to project him into a starting role. The Oregon product won't be a big-time playmaker, as he lacks the aggressiveness to test tight windows, but he'll do the job in a similar mold as Alex Smith or Andy Dalton.

29. OT Roger Rosengarten, Washington

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Rookie Starter in a Zone Scheme

Don't sleep on Rosengarten because of the national championship game. He was lousy against Michigan, but the rest of his tape was good, even great. The bottom line is that he needs to hit an NFL weight room to improve his anchor so that he doesn't need to be as aggressive in his pass sets. Rosengarten overcompensates too much for his smaller frame/lack of length that well-schooled rushers anticipate he'll bring the fight to them, slipping inside for easy wins. The Washington product is a dynamic mover and is battle-tested with 28 career starts. If he can avoid oversets by improving his anchor, Rosengarten has starter potential early in his NFL career.

30. WR Jalen McMillan, Washington

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker/WR2 Potential

Imagine if Jakobi Meyers ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash – that's Jalen McMillan. Crafty, sudden footwork of a slot receiver in a 6-1, 197-pound frame. McMillan has more juice than Meyers to separate on deep overs and post-corner style routes but doesn't have Meyers's contested catch skills yet. Patriots fans will like him regardless.

31. EDGE Chris Braswell, Alabama

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Role Player/Pass-Rush Specialist

Braswell is a twitchy linear rusher with an explosive first step and above-average length (33.25" arms) to convert speed to power. He does a nice job of varying his stride length to set up his speed/dip move and can go right through tackles to the quarterback. However, Braswell doesn't have the sand in his lower half to set a sturdy edge and is a little stiff laterally to be a big-time counter rusher. Still, Braswell has plenty of rush talent to dent the pocket.

32. CB Cam Hart, Notre Dame

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/Matchup-Specific CB2

If you want to be sold on Hart, turn on the Ohio State tape vs. Marvin Harrison Jr. – it was probably the best CB tape of any player vs. MHJ. Hart is a long, physical press-man specialist on the outside who will toe the line in bump-and-run coverage. Although he can get a bit grabby sometimes, he suffocates receivers throughout the route like a Patriots corner. You won't want him matching up against dynamic route-runners, but here's a scenario: say the Patriots are playing the Jets. Christian Gonzalez has Garrett Wilson, and Hart has Mike Williams.

33. S Calen Bullock, USC

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/High-Upside Prospect

Bullock is the best pure centerfielder in this class. He has the explosive straight-line speed to go from the deep middle to outside the numbers, smooth footwork in his pedal to flip-and-run in either direction, length to contest the catch point, and good instincts. However, Bullock must significantly improve his pursuit angles and technique as an open-field tackler. Still, you can see a role for him as a passing downs specialist if the tackling and run support doesn't improve.

34. S Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two/High-End Role Player

The Texas Tech product makes up for lacking size (5-10, 197) with excellent instincts, ball skills, and play speed (4.41s) to be a starting free safety with the flexibility to play nickel. My favorite rep from him on film came in quarters coverage against Texas. Xavier Worthy ran a double move that the outside corner bit on hard, and Taylor-Demerson, who had anything breaking inside, saved Texas Tech's bacon by anticipating the route and recovering over the top of Worthy. Those are the types of instincts and play speed that he brings to the table.

35. RB Marshawn Lloyd, USC

Round Projection: Day Two, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Lloyd is an explosive do-it-all back who stacks together sudden lateral cuts to make defenders miss or find the right entry point through the line of scrimmage. He's also a big-play receiver out of the backfield, with the ability to run vertical routes and create chunks after the catch. He needs to improve his vision to find daylight at the second and third levels and has some ball security issues with smaller hands. But he's an explosive mover who would pair well with Rhamondre Stevenson.

Kansas State tight end Ben Sinnott scores a touchdown during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Missouri Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

36. TE Ben Sinnott, Kansas State

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Sinnott has a chance to go earlier than expected after a strong pre-draft process. The Kansas State product followed up a solid showing at the Senior Bowl with a 9.73 relative athletic score at the combine. He also produced at a high level with 669 receiving yards and six scores in 2023. You hear that Sinnott could be this year's Sam LaPorta, but they're different players stylistically. LaPorta was much more dynamic at the top of the route, whereas Sinnott is a seam runner who can wall off defenders with his frame and block from different alignments.

37. OT Blake Fisher, Notre Dame

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Starter by Year Two

Fisher has all the baseline qualities of a starting-caliber tackle at the next level: desired measurables (6-5, 310 pounds, 34 ⅜" arms), foot speed, and play strength. He plays with noticeable pop in his hands and is a physical finisher in the run game with some eye-popping blocks. However, he struggles with body control and balance, ending up on the ground too often, and is prone to oversetting in his pass sets, amongst other technique issues. Fisher is an interesting prospect at No. 68.

Southern California wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) runs against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

38. WR Brenden Rice, USC

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

As the son of NFL legend Jerry Rice, Brenden plays a much different brand of receiver than his father. Rice is a big-bodied X receiver at 6-2, 208 pounds, who does show some separation quickness on the vertical route tree. However, he'll mostly win at the catch point with strong play through contact throughout the route. Rice's issue is that it takes a while to accelerate to top speed, which often wastes decent release footwork. He'll beat the corner at the line but doesn't have that instant second gear to stack over the top, forcing him to play through constant contact. Although you wish he had a little more juice to throttle down off the line, Rice has a chance to be a capable X receiver for a team looking for some size.

39. WR Devontez Walker, North Carolina

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Walker is a legit vertical threat who plays to his 4.36 speed with long strides to eat up a cushion and explode past defenders. He also has an above-average catch radius and decent body control along the sideline to make more difficult catches. However, Walker is still a project receiver. He doesn't have many branches to his route tree, doing a lot of his damage on vertical routes against off-coverage. Walker also struggled with focus drops and finishing through contact, especially at the Senior Bowl, where his stock took a huge hit. There's a starting-caliber skill set there as an outside receiver, and pairing him with Maye could be an enticing option, but Walker's archetype has a lower hit rate in the NFL recently.

40. WR Javon Baker, UCF

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

We should've probably talked more about Baker as a potential Patriots target, so let's do it here. Baker is at his best at the top of routes, where he suddenly snaps off routes off his vertical stems. The foundation is his ability to stack corners and track the deep ball over his shoulder, so DBs have to respect his ability to finish deep targets at the catch point, and that opens up avenues for some flashy intermediate wins. After transferring from Alabama, Baker finished a strong two-year campaign at UCF with 1,139 yards and seven scores in 2023. There's a lot of buzz about him.

41. QB Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Low-End Starter/High-End Backup

Rattler was a five-star recruit and the top quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class. Although he never put it all together at two different schools over five seasons, Rattler has starting-caliber arm talent and manages the pocket well. The 24-year-old's arm strength is almost too good for his own good, as he has zero fear of testing downfield windows from different platforms. Along with some dangerous throws and poor timing through his reads, Rattler also doesn't have prototypical size (6-0, 211 pounds). Still, you can talk yourself into Rattler being a better lottery ticket than safer prospects like Bo Nix or Michael Pratt due to his arm talent and moxie. Gardner Minshew is a solid comparison.

42. RB Braelon Allen, Wisconsin

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Allen is a classic early-down back with tremendous size at 6-1, 235 pounds, and good college production, as is tradition with Wisconsin backs. He has a nasty stiff arm and is tough to bring down in the open field with good build-up speed. However, he needs to buy into the bully ball back style rather than trying to dance around tackles. Allen is built like a classic Patriots RB.

43. OT Kiran Amegadjie, Yale

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Developmental Prospect

Amegadjie is a wide-bodied left tackle with ridiculously long arms (36 1⁄8"). He looks the part of an NFL prospect, dominating with play strength and suffocating length/hand strength the way you'd want to see a smaller school prospect dominate that level of competition. However, Yale ran an RPO-heavy offense, so Amegadjie didn't have many pass sets that translate to the NFL. Still, he was a man amongst boys in the Ivy League with starting-caliber play strength and measurables.

44. TE Theo Johnson, Penn State

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Developmental Prospect

Johnson is a traits-based projection after posting an elite 9.93 relative athletic score with 4.57-speed at 6-6, 259 pounds. There's so much untapped potential for the Penn State product, who flashes receiving skill and has the frame to develop into a much better blocker. But he only had 76 catches in college and has some shaky run-blocking technique. Although the athleticism is rare for his size, it's unknown whether or not it'll lead to production at the next level.

45. OT Brandon Coleman, TCU

Round Projection: 3-4, NFL Potential: Swing Tackle/Low-End Starter

I was late to the party with Coleman. However, he had starting-caliber tape at left tackle for the Horned Frogs. Coleman's film was better during the 2022 season, particularly when he was one of a few players who held their own against Georgia in the national championship game. But he dealt with nagging knee and ankle injuries that limited him throughout 2023. Coleman combines well-proportioned length (34 5/8") and humungous hands (10 3/4") to establish first meaningful contact consistently. His punches stun rushers to end reps early while he uses an effective snatch-trap technique to shut down the bull rush. Coleman has starting-caliber measurables and play strength as long as his movement skills return to 2022 form. He could've been a top-50 pick with a healthy 2023, so the Patriots could bet on his upside in the middle rounds.

46. S Kamren Kinchens, Miami

Round Projection: Day Three, NFL Potential: Role Player/High-End Backup

You'll need to trust the eye test with Kinchens because the combine testing wasn't pretty. The Miami product posted a 2.43 relative athletic score with a poor 4.65-second 40-yard dash at 5-11, 203 pounds. There's some stiffness and a lack of straight-line speed on film with Kinchens, but he has a nose for the football and plays with good awareness at free safety. Plus, he spent time with Patriots personnel exec Alonzo Highsmith at Miami. Although he's a borderline NFL athlete, Kinchens could be the Duron Harmon the Patriots defense needs.

TCU tight end Jared Wiley (19) catches a touchdown pass against BYU defender Preston Rex during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

47. TE Jared Wiley, TCU

Round Projection: Round 3-4, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Wiley would be my day-three dart throw for the Patriots at tight end. Although you wish he had more punch as a run blocker for a well-built tight end (6-6, 249), Wiley is an effortless mover with good acceleration off the line (4.62s 40) and fluidity through his breaks to separate on horizontal cuts. The movement skills at his size are the gambles that could pay off at tight end. Plus, he's built just like an Eliot Wolf/Packers tight end that fits the Pats new offense. It makes sense that New England reportedly hosted Wiley on a 30 visit.

48. OT Javon Foster, Missouri

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Swing Tackle/Low-End Starter

Foster is an experienced left tackle prospect with 41 career starts in the SEC. He knows how to use his 35-inch arms to keep pass-rushers at his fingertips and combines it with upper-body power to generate movement in the run game. However, Foster is a segmented mover with choppy feet who struggles to change directions. You also worry about how his pads rise as he chops his feet in his pass sets, exposing himself to power rushers. Foster is a strong run blocker with good length and experience, but his uncoordinated pass sets worry you at the next level.

49. OT Christian Jones, Texas

Round Projection: Rounds 3-4, NFL Potential: Swing Tackle/Low-End Starter

Jones is a long-armed prospect with 48 career starts at both tackle spots. He is a big-time people-mover with well-schooled hand technique and leg drive to make an impact in the run game. Jones uses firm inside strikes to stall rushers early in the rep and establish control of engagements in the run game. He's much better with his hands than prospects ranked ahead of him. With that said, he gets overextended and ducks his head into contact way too often while also having a short corner that gets easily threatened by explosive edge rushers. Jones might be limited to playing in a phone booth, with concerns about his ability to block NFL rush talent.

50. TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State

Round Projection: Day Three, NFL Potential: Complementary Playmaker

Although we aren't super high on the player, we can't ignore the fact that the Patriots have shown significant interest in Bell. The Florida State product is at his best stretching the field up the seam or with the ball in his hands. However, due to his size and effort, Bell gives you almost nothing as a run blocker and isn't a dynamic route runner other than in a straight line. He's day three Ja'Tavion Sanders.

Last Three On: OT Brandon Coleman, TE Jared Wiley, RB Braelon Allen

Last Three Off: WR Jermaine Burton (off field), WR Troy Franklin (size/frame), DT T'Vondre Sweat (off field)

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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