New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 07: Drake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts after throwing for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the second half of their game at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 40-7. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots 2024 draft class is complete. Read more about each pick below.

In total, the Pats made eight selections in the 2024 draft, and seven of them addressed the offense. It was the right thing to do, for a unit that had rotted from within at all the key spots on the roster.

That doesn’t mean all these draft picks are guaranteed to hit, but it was imperative for Patriots de facto GM Eliot Wolf to take shots at critical positions like quarterback, wide receiver, and tackle. He did exactly that with the Pats’ first three picks in a row.

Did Wolf land the Patriots’ franchise quarterback of the future? That will be the No. 1 question coming out of this draft. Meet him and the rest of the Patriots’ 2024 draft picks…

Round 1, No. 3: QB Drake Maye, UNC

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 28: Drake Maye #10 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks to pass against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Drake Maye (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The key to the whole thing. If Maye pans out and becomes the Patriots’ first true franchise quarterback since Tom Brady, their concerns at wide receiver and along the offensive line suddenly won’t matter so much.

Maye has prototypical quarterback size at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, and has the arm talent to elevate the weapons around him. But despite his off-the-charts raw ability, Maye needs to improve his footwork and has a steep learning curve ahead of him going from North Carolina to an NFL offense.

So, the best thing for both Maye and the organization is to sit him to begin his rookie year, and allow him to work out the kinks in his game and learn the playbook. Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo and director of scouting Eliot Wolf are confident that Maye has the work ethic and “football intelligence” to do so.

If all goes well in Maye’s development, the Pats will have their franchise quarterback of the future. And he would be the type of guy you need in the modern NFL: an elite athlete with the intangibles to match.

  • Round 2, No. 37: WR Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington

    Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk (2) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the Texas Longhorns in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

    Ja’Lynn Polk (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

    The Patriots wasted little time making their long-awaited high draft pick at wide receiver. They traded down from 34 to 37, turning their fifth-round pick into a fourth-rounder in the process, and went for Polk, a guy Eliot Wolf said the team “had [their] eye on for a while.”

    Polk has good size at 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, and has been universally praised for his hands and his toughness at the catch point. He has big-play potential with his body control and ball-tracking, and has shown the ability to play both inside and outside.

    His route-running is solid but could use some improvement. Polk tends to make rounded cuts out of his breaks, and could stand to become more sudden with his change of direction. If he can do that, he could become a productive receiver at the NFL level.

    Polk’s ceiling seems to be more of a No. 2 receiver or complementary piece than a true No. 1, but this is the reality in today’s NFL: the true studs all go in the top half of the first round now. Polk should be better than infamous recent picks like N’Keal Harry and Tyquan Thornton. He has a chance to start from day 1 as an “X” or “Z” target.

  • Round 3, No. 68: OT Caedan Wallace, Penn State

    Penn State redshirt-junior offensive lineman Caedan Wallace rests on a bench during football media day at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, August 6, 2022, in State College. (Syndication: York Daily Record)

    Caedan Wallace (Syndication: York Daily Record)

    With their all-important third pick and final one of day 2, the Patriots addressed a huge need at tackle with Wallace out of Penn State. Wallace played right tackle for the Nittany Lions and comes into the NFL with tackle-caliber size and length at 6-foot-5, 314 pounds with 34-inch arms.

    Wolf told reporters that he’s confident Wallace has the athletic ability to switch from right tackle to left tackle. The hope is that he does indeed pan out as a blindside protector for Maye. For now, left tackle should be considered a competition between Wallace and free-agent signing Chukwuma Okorafor.

  • Round 4, No. 103: OG Layden Robinson, Texas A&M

    Oct 28, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Layden Robinson (64) blocks against South Carolina Gamecocks during the second half at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

    Layden Robinson (Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports)

    Robinson played right guard at Texas A&M, and projects as a guard at the NFL level at 6-foot-3 and 302 pounds. But he does have great arm length at 34 ⅝ inches. He gets high marks for his power and play strength.

    The reason Robinson was a day-3 pick was a relative lack of consistency in his performance, and unrefined techniques in certain areas, particularly in run blocking. He likely won’t play right away for the Patriots, but there are traits for them to work with here, and the potential to develop him into a starting guard down the road.

  • Round 4, No. 110: WR Javon Baker, UCF

    Oct 21, 2023; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; UCF Knights wide receiver Javon Baker (1) makes a catch in fron tof Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Gentry Williams (9) during the second half at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Javon Baker (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

    Another fit for the Eliot Wolf mold, Baker has good size at 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, and has the skill set to make big plays down the field – jumping ability, ball-tracking, catch radius. He’s also a versatile route-runner, making him a good fit for a West Coast-style offense, which the Patriots are expected to run under offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

    The knocks on Baker in his scouting reports note the occasional focus drop and struggles against press-man coverage. But Baker does have the size and strength to possibly be coached up to handle that better at the NFL level. On the Patriots, he’ll have an opportunity to play relatively soon as a big “X” outside receiver, a player type they desperately need.

  • Round 6, No. 180: DB Marcellas Dial, South Carolina

    CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 26: Marcellas Dial #24 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates breaking up a Clemson Tigers third down pass in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2022 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

    Marcellas Dial (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

    The Patriots finally addressed the defense and a sneaky need in the secondary with the selection of Dial in the sixth round. Dial played as a cornerback at South Carolina and has the physical tools to play man at the NFL level. He has to develop those skills to stick on the Patriots’ roster, but he has a chance, considering their relative lack of certainty at corner.

  • Round 6, No. 193: QB Joe Milton, Tennessee

    Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) is seen on the field during a football game between Tennessee and Texas A&M at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA Today Network)

    Joe Milton III (Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA Today Network)

    You can bet your bottom dollar that this pick made our resident draft expert Alex Barth extremely excited. That said, Milton right now is basically a big arm – the biggest arm – and not much else. He has a lot to learn about playing the position at the NFL level. But he should project as a long-term backup for Drake Maye, perhaps with the potential to be something more, if he develops well.

  • Round 7, No. 231: TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State

    ORLANDO, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jaheim Bell #6 of the Florida State Seminoles runs in a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the LSU Tigers at Camping World Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

    ORLANDO, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 03: Jaheim Bell #6 of the Florida State Seminoles runs in a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the LSU Tigers at Camping World Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

    Bell is undersized for a tight end at 6-foot-2 and 241 pounds, but he showed some pass-catching ability and all-over-the-field versatility for Florida State. He’s an indication that new Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo values versatility as much as his predecessor, Bill Belichick. There will be no pressure on Bell to contribute any time soon, with Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper in the fold at tight end. But he has potential as a versatile H-back type if he develops well.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content.

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