New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Patriots mock draft L-R: Notre Dame LT Joe Alt, UNC QB Drake Maye, LSU QB Jayden Daniels, Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (USA Today Images)

L-R: Notre Dame LT Joe Alt, UNC QB Drake Maye, LSU QB Jayden Daniels, Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. All four are featured in our first Patriots Mock Draft Mailbag of the year. (USA Today Images)

With the initial wave of NFL free agency in the books, it’s officially NFL Draft season. As of Monday, it’s 38 days until the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft begins on April 25.

Now that the draft is the next major even on the NFL calendar, every Monday from today through draft week will be Mock Draft Monday here on 985TheSportsHub.com, powered by U.S. Pavement. We’ll have some sort of mock draft content to start the week, each week.


READ MORE:

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Zolak: Patriots should consider trading down


To kick off Mock Draft Mondays this week, we’ve got the return of the Mock Draft Mailbag! For those who missed its debut last year, this is like the Patriots Mailbag we do during the regular season but instead of sending questions, people submit mock drafts for me to react to. I see you guys replying to my tweets with mock drafts all year an unfortunately can’t respond to them all, so this is my attempt to get to as many as I can.

As we go through, there may be picks or trades that overlap from mock to mock. I’ll comment on a player, pick, trade, etc. the first time it comes up, but know that comment carries over to other mocks that present the same situation even if I don’t highlight it again. The goal is to try to highlight as many players and scenarios as possible, using part of as many possible mock drafts as you guys sent in.

If you missed submitting a mock this week, don’t worry! There will be at least two more Mock Draft Mailbags later this spring. For now though, let’s get started with 2024 Mock Draft Mailbag 1.0!

Note: The way these tweets are displayed, some of the mocks are cropped. You’ll have to open them in Twitter to see the full draft.

  • There’s a lot to like here. The Patriots get my QB2 in this draft third overall (although I acknowledge Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are interchangeable in regards to the PFF simulator, the ultimate idea is taking a quarterback), then add a bona fide weapon in Higgins – who is more of a sure thing than any receiver on the board at 34, however promising they may be.

    Those moves are supplemented by some strong Day 3 picks. Kam Kinchens may have tested poorly at the NFL Combine but his explosiveness shows up consistently on tape. If NFL teams are that bothered by his testing, he could be a steal in the fourth round for a Patriots team looking for a true free safety. Tip Reiman would add a blocking element the tight end room doesn’t currently have.

    Be careful with PFF’s simulator not being updated though – Tim Smith is going back to ‘Bama for 2024.

  • Andrew certainly made good on his claim of drafting explosive players. Pretty much every skill position taken here is an elite athlete. If the Patriots want their offense to stylistically resemble the Niners, this would be a very strong start.

    I really like the idea of pairing Michael Penix and Roger Rosengarten, with Rosengarten being the rare example of a right tackle who has been a blindside protector. However, I’m still not sure Penix gets to 34. Jaylin Simpson is another player who would need to take a big fall to be selected where he’s chosen here – he’s shot up draft boards after a strong Senior Bowl.

    As for the trade, this one is solid but I do think the Patriots could get more. In 2021 the Niners moved up to third from the 12th overall pick, giving up 12, two future firsts, and a future third. That should be the base for any trade the Patriots make moving down into the teens. Plus, with the Colts having drafted a quarterback last year, I’m not sure why they would pay the excess price that comes with having a top quarterback on the board.

  • The trade up from 34 back into the first round is an idea I’ve certainly spent time kicking around, but I’d love to see what Phil gave up to move eight spots without giving up 68. Whatever that trade was, coming away with Maye and Guyton would be great.

    Guyton, the latest top tackle prospect from a Sooners program that churns out blindside protectors, is the kind of athletic standout the Packers traditionally targeted at tackle when Eliot Wolf was there. He’s a bit raw, but should be a Year 1 starter.

    Doubling up at receiver with Polk and Means makes sense. Both are toolsy receivers who will fit well with Maye’s ability to throw the deep ball. Neither has immediate WR1 upside but both project as solid contributors for where they’re being taken.

    Bell and Laube continue to add explosiveness at the skill positions. Bell has fallen a bit on boards after a tough Combine but still is an interesting H-back prospect.

  • EJ, I’d say you did a very good job of respecting the board here. 137 may be a little low for Lloyd, but running backs also tend to have as much variance as any position, so it’s not totally out of the question.

    As for the actual players picked, Mitchell would be a tremendous get for the Patriots. His combination of size, athleticism, and ball skills show legitimate No. 1 receiver upside, and he’s only projected to be a late-first, early-second round pick because of how deep this class is at the position. Other years, he’d almost certainly be pushing the top 15 picks. Rice is another solid prospect, but now the double up has two ‘X’ receivers. A more Z/slot receiver in that spot would make this draft more well-rounded.

    The last two picks here are certainly worth highlighting. Crum looks like a potential find as a Day 3 project left tackle. At 6-foot-8, 313 pounds he was one of the best testing tackles at the Combine and again fits that Packer mold. Technique is going to be a major question for him, but with the right coaching he has the natural tools to be a serviceable NFL lineman. Watts is a versatile defensive back with special teams upside that could stick around the back of a roster as a valuable depth player – the kind of player that isn’t a bad find at that point in the draft.

  • I’ve been critical of people not getting enough in future assets exchange for trading down from three into the teens, but putting together six top-100 picks isn’t exactly walking away empty handed, either. If the Patriots really love this class, that would be an option. However, a trade down for all intents and purposes takes Daniels out of the question – if he falls to 13 it’s likely because something happened between now and the draft.

    As for the other picks, Morgan is a very interesting player. His tackle tape is excellent, but at the Combine his arms measured in at 42 7/8 inches. In the last 10 years only two tackles have gone in the first round with arms under 33 inches. Most players failing to meet that threshold get moved to guard (see Peter Skoronski from last year). However, maybe taking Morgan in the second mitigates that risk.

    There’s also clearly an effort to bolster the defense here. Trice at 68 is a bit of a reach, but he’s certainly a Patriots-like edge player. Wilson would be the Patriots’ best shot yet at getting that athletic off-ball linebacker they’ve been chasing for years now, and Jenkins next to Christian Barmore would be a nightmare paring for offenses on third downs.

  • Trading down to target a quarterback is incredibly, incredibly risky. It’s been 30 years since a team traded down in the top five and took a quarterback. All this would do is likely set up the Cardinals to get a king’s ransom for the fourth pick.

    I do really like some of the other picks further down the board though. T’Vondre Sweat is one of my favorite players in this draft. At 6-foot-4, 366 pounds he’s nearly impossible to single block. There’s tremendous power behind his size, which will force teams to respect him. He won’t put up a ton of stats, but his presence alone will be something opposing offenses need to account for, which will free up players around him to be more effective.

    Tyrone Tracy is also a very fun player as a Day 3 project. A former wide receiver who moved to running back last year, his diverse skill set fits very well in the modern game. Patriots running backs coach T.C. McCartney was at his pro day.

  • Solid all-around draft here. The top three needs are addressed with the top 100 picks (I’m not sure if Guyton gets to 34 but another tackle there like Kingsley Suamataia or Patrick Paul would certainly still work), with more luxury or future needs addressed with project players on Day 3.

    Iowa TE Erick All is one of my favorite project players at that position. After a big season for Michigan in 2021 he was seen as a potential top-100 pick. He went back to school in 2022 but sustained a back injury early in the season that limited him to just three games, then last year went to Iowa where the general offensive sluggishness impacted his ability to produce. There’s still a lot to like from his 2021 season though, which makes him worth a shot.

  • There are some things I really like about this draft and some I really don’t. I still believe the Patriots should be taking a quarterback third overall, and if not shouldn’t drop out of the top 10.

    That being said, getting back a future 1st from a team in as much disarray as the Broncos isn’t a bad consolation prize. Neither is Brian Thomas, who is looking more and more like the WR4 in this draft and a true threat at the X position.

    The other thing I like here is – if the Patriots decide to not take a quarterback third overall – there’s no rush to immediately grab a quarterback after. If the plan is to bolster the rest of the roster to make it a better situation for a quarterback to be added later, use those premium picks to truly commit to that plan. Spencer Ratter at 68 is a good balance of getting new player in the building, but still using your best assets on players more likely to start long-term.

  • Another draft that plays to the idea of truly loading up the rest of the roster if the quarterback isn’t there third overall. I think more can be gotten for the third overall pick, especially in terms of future assets, but the other two trades are solid.

    As for the players, Alt feels like the best non-quarterback pick the Patriots could make. A set-it-and-forget-it left tackle who would protect the eventual quarterback for at least a decade.

    Later on in the draft, some people might be uncomfortable with a running back in the top 100 but Wright could really be a factor in Alex Van Pelt’s offensive system given his explosiveness and field vision. Plus, if the Patriots know they’re going to move on from Rhamondre Stevenson after his rookie deal expires next year, that kind of investment would make more sense. Laube is a good player too, but both may be overdoing it a bit at running back on top of the Antonio Gibson signing.

    Finally it’s the first draft with ‘Bazooka’ Joe Milton. Milton is a true lottery ticket, but he hardly prevents the Patriots from being back in the quarterback market next year. If he falls that far, it may not hurt just taking a chance on a quarterback with his profile (massive arm, athletic).

  • Oh hey look, it’s Matt Dolloff!

    For this mock, Dolloff is on the side of trading down. He pairs Odunze and Penix, hoping to recapture some of the magic from Washington this year.

    While I like the idea of getting those two talented players back on the same team, I actually prefer Dolloff’s full mock draft that he published Monday morning. You can read that one here.

  • Again, I like the idea of trading up from 34 into the late first round. I’m guessing this is the 2023 Bucs-Jags trade, with a 4th and 6th going back to the Cardinals as well as 34?

    With that pick the Patriots get Mitchell, who again seems like he has true playmaking ability at the X position. Following that with a double-up on experienced tackles makes a lot of sense as well.

  • Solid, solid draft from Tom here. Let’s start with that trade down. If Paul is the player the Patriots are targeting at tackle, moving back to get him (which is realistic) and adding another top-100 pick is a win-win. Then, they pair Maye with Walker, reuniting the UNC duo which should help both transition to the NFL.

    On Day 3, I’m a big fan of the Cam Hart selection. Boundary cornerback is an understated need for the Patriots, and Hart plays the game exactly the way they want their cornerbacks to play. Coming off of a very strong Senior Bowl performance his stock has been rising. 103 is certainly on the lower end of his projection, but not out of the question. Taking him 82nd overall and then finding another safety at 103 or later in the draft could make sense too.

    Later on, the draft adds a few more solid project players in Rosengarten and McCaffrey. Wiley is also a good pick – he may not have the upside of a starting tight end but could become a solid, well-rounded rotational player. There’s nothing wrong with ensuring solid tight end depth at that point in the draft.

  • I think at this point I’ve touched on most of the players in this mock individually, but solid job overall, Dominic.

  • Here’s what’s really fun about Kerry’s draft here – Walker and Legette at 68 is a really good conversation to have. Walker is more of a traditional ‘X’ while Legette, although built like an ‘X’ seems like more of a ‘Z’ YAC specialist with a slightly higher ceiling. Both could certainly help the Patriots offense, the question is who would help more? Kerry went outside the box and said ‘why not both?’

  • Again, we’ve discussed most of the players here but I do want to hit on Stover. He might be one of the most underrated players in the draft. As a converted defensive end/outside linebacker he’s certainly more raw on the technical side but he’s come a long way in the past couple of years which shows an ability to rapidly learn and get better. He also has the size (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) and plays with the physicality needed to be a three-down tight end in the NFL. He’s the high-end project tight end in this draft, and probably the third-best tight end prospect overall behind Brock Bowers and Ja’Tavion Sanders.

  • Because I asked for submissions on Thursday, most of these came prior to the Minnesota Vikings acquired a second first-round pick in a trade on Friday. Here’s one that came after though and features what seems like a solid mock trade for Minnesota to use that new asset to move up.

    From there, the idea of building around the quarterback position continues. Fashanu at 11 is a bit of a drop but certainly not realistic, especially if another team (the Giants) panics about the quarterback situation and takes J.J. McCarthy in the top 10. I like Michael Penix, but could also see that 34th pick going to another support player – either doubling up at tackle mor maybe taking the second wide receiver higher and then grabbing a running back later on.

    Either way, the offense is now restocked and ready for Penix to try and lead it. If he comes up short, the Patriots have the ammo to move up for a quarterback in 2025.

  • I was surprised there was only one Harrison Jr. mock in the submissions. There’s very little evidence starting a rebuild with a wide receiver works which is why I prefer Alt in that spot if it’s not a quarterback, but if anybody can get it done it’s probably Harrison. He’s the best wide receiver prospect to come through the draft in at least the last 10 years.

    As for McCarthy, all indications are he continues flying up draft boards. At this point, right or wrong, it seems more likely than not he ends up a top 15 pick.

    There have also been a couple of mocks to this point including Jackson, the cornerback out of Oregon. He’s got tremendous size at 6-foot-4, 194 pounds, and isn’t afraid to get physical with receivers. His lack of quickness is a concern, but as his instincts improve he should be able to cover that shortcoming up somewhat. Not a bad option as a Day 3 flier, but some team may see his raw size and reach on him earlier.

  • pat on Twitter: "I personally love the stockpile elite assets/picks and flier QB move this year. You're going to suck regardless. Worst case scenario you try with a guy like Travis (elite leader/winning quotient) and he might suck. But you then pick high again next year. pic.twitter.com/iyI8vgu8cP / Twitter"

    I personally love the stockpile elite assets/picks and flier QB move this year. You're going to suck regardless. Worst case scenario you try with a guy like Travis (elite leader/winning quotient) and he might suck. But you then pick high again next year. pic.twitter.com/iyI8vgu8cP

    Jordan Travis is a really tough player to figure out this year. He had a couple of very strong seasons to close out his Florida State career, and his ability to make plays outside of the pocket is a coveted trait. But he’s on the smaller side and is coming off of a significant leg injury late last season. Plus, he turns 24 the week after the draft.

    Prior to his injury, Travis’ draft ceiling was a fringe top-50 pick. The question is, how much will the injury impact his mobility, which was his carrying trait? Plus, how long, if at all, will he have to wait to get on the field? There’s an argument for him being a fourth-round pick, or a seventh-round pick. He’s not a bad flyer option if the Patriots’ are truly punting the quarterback position to 2025, it’s just a matter of where his value lies.

  • Three players in this draft stand out as worth highlighting to me. Let’s go in order.

    In a wide receiver class as deep as this one, some players are bound to go under-discussed. One of those is Burton, who is a projected Day 2 pick. The Alabama receiver is a true deep threat, with blazing speed, suddenness to his route running, and great hands. He may never be a coverage-dictating receiver but he could be a really strong complementary player who forces teams to stay honest in coverage over the top.

    We already discussed Miami safety Kam Kinchens, but Williams is a good player to know too especially with former Miami staffer Alonzo Highsmith now in the Patriots’ front office. While Kinchens played deep for The U, Williams was more of the box safety or nickel corner. At 6-foot-4, 231 pounds he’s an imposing presence and may end up making the move to linebacker in the NFL.

    The third player I was to highlight is Johnson. If the Patriots want to add a bowling ball back to complement their current backfield, Johnson is a great option late on Day 3. He was an absolute workhorse for Washington this year and was really tough to tackle. His rushing style will really appeal to more old-school football fans, and he can catch the ball a little bit too.

  • Go Huskies, am I right?

    In this scenario, I’m assuming quarterbacks to 1, 2, 3, with the next two picks being Marvin Harrison Jr. and Joe Alt? That leaves the Patriots in a sticky spot moving down to six (also, they could probably get a little more in this trade).

    That being said, I am a massive fan of Odunze, who I think is the second-best receiver in this draft. His game is just so incredibly well-rounded, there’s not much you can’t ask him to do at the wide receiver position.

    He runs good routes to all three levels of the field, creates after the catch, is excellent at the catch point, and is a willing blocker. His carrying trait may not be to the level of, say, Harrison’s route-running or Malik Nabers’ explosiveness, but it’s the overall ability that makes him a special player. Personally, I think there’s a lot of similarities to Stefon Diggs in this game. It doesn’t matter how he’s getting involved, and his involvement could change week to week, but no matter what he’s going to make things happen.

  • I was so ready to repeatedly mock Melton to the Patriots last year before he decided to go back to school. Not only was he one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the Big 12, he’s also a major special teams contributor. He blocked four punts in his career and also returns kicks. This is probably a little low for him, he could end up pushing the top 100.

  • While the caption says ‘offense heavy’ let’s actually start with one defensive player on here. Colorado State edge rusher Mo Kamara is a high-motor, physical pass rusher who put up tremendous production with the Rams. He’s slightly undersized at 6-foot-1, 248 pounds, but if he was a few inches taller and went to a Power 5 school he may be in the top 50 conversation.

    O.K., back to offense. Kamara’s teammate Dallin Holker is a bit of a tweener tight end. Not quite a traditional inline guy, not quite an H-back. He has the athleticism to play both positions though, which makes him an interesting prospect.

    Texas WR Jordan Whittington is another player getting slept on in this draft. Texas of course had no shortage of explosive playmakers on offense, but while AD Mitchell, Xavier Worthy, and Ja’Tavion Sanders were running down the field Whittington was the one attacking the intermediate part of the field as a chain mover and safety blanket.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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