New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

L-R: Pitt WR Bub Means, Washington QB Michael Penix, Georgia OT Amarius Mims (USA Today Images)

When we did our first Mock Draft Mailbag of the year, the initial wave of free agency was just wrapping up. There were still more questions unanswered than answered about the roster.

Now, two weeks later (and after hearing de facto general manager Eliot Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo speak), the picture is becoming clearer – the Patriots are all in on the 2024 NFL Draft. So, it’s time to put the fans back in the drivers seat.


READ MORE:

Barth’s Patriots Mock Draft 2.0: Getting aggressive
Reacting to the new NFL kickoff rule
2024 NFL Draft positional previews: Wide receivers


That means it’s time for another Mock Draft Mailbag. For those unfamiliar, this is like the mailbag we do during the regular season – except instead of sending in questions people send in mock drafts for reactions.

We got over 40 submissions for this edition of the mailbag, and with that many mocks there’s bound to be some overlaps. Rather that commenting on every player in every draft, I’ll highlight one or two things from each. If the same player or similar trades appear in another draft, my commentary still applies. 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 this week, we’ll have one more mailbag before the actual draft. But for now, let’s get into the submissions for Mock Draft Mailbag 2.0.

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.

  • When it comes to trading back into the first round, there are two main trades we’ve discussed. Either trading 34 (2nd round) and 68 (3rd round), or 34, 103 (4th round), and 180 (6th round). Those trades are both modeled after previous deals done in the same range of the draft.

    What Kody has done is kept all of the current draft capital, instead borrowing a premium asset from next year to make the move (generally future picks are valued one round below a current pick, so a current third would equal a future second, etc.). Worth the trade off? That’s an interesting discussion. I’d lean no, simply because if the Patriots are bad again that’s potentially a top-40 pick, rather than the 68th you’d be giving up next year.

    However, Kody made the most of it in the top 100. After grabbing Drake Maye he gets two potential Year 1 starters in Tyler Guyton and Maye’s teammate, Tez Walker.

  • The Patriots realistically should be able to get more in a trade down to the seventh overall pick. In 2018, the Jets traded the sixth overall pick, two second-round picks that year, and a future second to move up from six to three. That’s four top-100 picks, including three in one year. Because the Jets were trading up for a quarterback (Sam Darnold), the move is comparable.

    As for the draft itself, if the Patriots like J.J. McCarthy enough to take him seventh overall they should take him third overall and not risk losing him to another team jumping them in the order (I wrote about the risks of trading down for a quarterback earlier this offseason).

    There are some other really strong picks there though. Xavier Worthy, Roman Wilson, and Jaylen Wright add a ton of speed and explosiveness to the Patriots’ offense. An ’11’ personnel receiver group of Worthy, Wilson/Kendrick Bourne, and Pop Douglas would be small but tough for defenses to keep up with. Patrick Paul is a potential starting left tackle, while Javon Foster is a strong project behind him. Cade Stover is among the better Day 3 project tight ends as well.

  • ‘Best case scenario’ indeed. For this to happen the Giants would have to move up to third to take J.J. McCarthy or Drake Maye (whichever one Washington doesn’t take), and then the Cardinals and Chargers would have to stick at four and five with likely massive offers on the board of other teams looking to move up at quarterback.

    That being said, yes this would be a very complete draft. From Daniels to Josh Newton – a very Patriots-like ‘tweener’ cornerback – this would be a great job by Eliot Wolf & Co.

  • Well this certainly is bold. The debate over a quarterback or Marvin Harrison Jr.? Why not both?

    For there to even be a chance of this happening, the Patriots would need the Cardinals to trade out of the fourth pick to a quarterback-needy team (the Giants)? With none of the perceived top quarterbacks on the board, the fifth pick inherently decreases in value opening the door to something like this.

    That being said this is still probably a bit of an underpay by the Patriots, especially to a Chargers team that needs receivers. The Patriots would also have to be sure that Patrick Paul can be the guy, because they’d lose the ability to use a premium asset on a tackle next year.

    Super creative idea though. This is what I love about this time of year – there are so many permutations, just what you think you’ve seen them all a new one comes along.

  • Riley indeed got lucky with AD Mitchell falling to 34. It’s not impossible – with so much talent on the board at the wide receiver position teams may be more willing to wait on wideouts, causing the group as a whole to fall. Still, the players more likely to be on the board at 34 as a result of that are guys like Ladd McConkey and Keon Coleman.

    Caelen Carson is a very interesting pick here. He hasn’t been talked about a ton for the Patriots because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the Patriots to go defense in the top 100 overall. However, if they do want to invest somewhat highly at cornerback – the most likely position of any on defense to do so – Carson definitely projects as a fit as a bigger press-man cornerback who is a willing contributor when it comes to defending the run.

  • On the topic of wide receivers falling – AD Mitchell is the player to look for potentially falling out of the first round, but Brian Thomas Jr. is the guy to look for to fall out of the top 20. He checks all the boxes of a No. 1 ‘X’ receiver prospect, and most years would likely be a top 15 pick. If he starts to slip a little bit, trading back into the first round to get him would make a ton of sense for the Patriots.

    Connor then adds to the wide receiver room again with Xavier Legette, who projects best as a gadget player – and the kind of player that could be even more valuable if the new rule against hip drop tackles is strongly enforced. Thomas, Legette, Kendrick Bourne, and Pop Douglas is a very well-rounded group of receivers, with legitimate breakthrough potential if Thomas reaches close to or maxes out on his ceiling.

    Of course, that still leaves the Patriots lacking at tackle. A couple of project players could give the team something (although this would be a bit of a fall for Kiran Amegadjie), but it could get rocky at the left tackle spot in 2024. Still, the Patriots would certainly have the room to invest heavily in a tackle in 2025 – the hope would just have to be Drake Maye doesn’t get too beat up as a rookie.

  • Javon Baker is certainly somebody we should be talking about more for the Patriots, with the news they plan on hosting him for a top-30 visit before the draft. Baker is an intermediate and deep receiver with good size who looks more explosive on film than he tested at the Combine. With just one year of major production his ceiling is there, but he’s not as much of a sure thing as other receivers in this draft. As a projected early Day 3 pic, he makes the most sense for the Patriots as a double-dip option like Carlos has him as here.

    As somebody who always pays a little extra attention to prospects who have changed positions, the Josiah Ezirim pick stands out later on Day 3. Ezirim is a converted defensive lineman who is still very raw on the other side of the ball, but his size (6-foot-6, 329 pounds) and play strength suggest he may have some upside playing on the offensive line. Not a bad lottery ticket for that late in the draft.

  • I don’t necessarily agree with all of the picks here but I am – in theory – all aboard on the strategy. If the Patriots don’t believe in any of these quarterbacks enough to take them third overall, blowing another top pick later on a quarterback ‘just to take a quarterback’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. Instead, Geoffrey has built up the rest of the roster and added assets to go after a quarterback next year.

    However, a bigger investment in tackle would help that build up. Considering a player like Troy Fautanu, Amarius Mims, or Tyler Guyton if he falls there, especially after adding a pass-catcher in Brock Bowers, might make more sense. Then doubling back for a wide receiver at 34 instead of Jordan Morgan, who may end up being a long-term guard at the next level.

  • I don’t know who this “we” is, but you’d really better believe in Bo Nix if this is the draft. Mims is a promising prospect but he’s very raw with only six college starts. Wilson and Washington are good separators, but aren’t necessarily complete enough to be true No. 1 receivers. In this scenario, Nix is going to be called on to significantly elevate what’s around him, which is a tough ask of the most talent-dependent quarterback of the top six.

    That all being said, Evan did do a good job of targeting individual players who, in a bubble, would help the Patriots. Javon Bullard would give the Patriots a real deep safety, MarShawn Lloyd and Isaac Guerendo would be a strong thunder-lightning duo in the backfield, and Tommy Eichenberg could fill some of the assignments vacated by the departure of Mack Wilson.

  • The Patriots trading next year’s first round pick would be very, very risky. This team has multiple high-level needs an impact positions, that realistically won’t all get filled this year. They’d need to be absolutely sure of hitting on picks down the board in order to take that kind of risk. Maybe if a tackle like Alt fell to 18 it would be worth giving up a future second to move up, but it’s tough to see how Alt – as a top tackle in a class that isn’t very strong at the position – would get that far down the board.

  • Roger Rosengarten has gotten a ton of attention over the last month or so. A rough performance in the National Championship Game hurt his stock going into the pre-draft process, but now that people are looking at his full makeup again they’re getting a reminder that he is an experienced, technically-sound blocker who – as a right tackle – protected the blindside of lefty Michael Penix in college. Rosengarten’s size and athleticism are average, but his fundamentals and physical nature should help him play above that. 34 may be a bit high for him, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a Day 2 pick. For a Patriots team that is expected to look at tackle in that range, he belongs on the radar.

    As for the trade, moving down 10 spots from third overall should net a future first-round pick. Yes, accumulating picks in this year’s draft helps, but that future first will be important ammunition when taking a quarterback next year.

  • Interesting strategy here to add depth to the Patriots’ most-lacking positions. Quarterback, wide receiver, and tackle are the big ones, but for the fourth position I wonder if double dipping at running back or even cornerback would make more sense at that part of the draft.

  • I may have tried to add more future assets in these trades – especially since tackle could end up being a major need again next year based on this draft – but overall this is pretty solid. Ladd McConkey gives the Patriots a strong ‘Z’ option to pair with Kendrick Bourne and Brenden Rice would be the ‘X’ in a well-rounded wide receiver room.

    Some people may say 76 is too high for the Patriots to be picking a safety but they would be addressing a need with a good player. I just don’t know about Sam Hartman in the top 200. I might have used that pick on a flyer cornerback instead.

  • Big time ‘quantity over quality’ draft here. Yes, there are nine top-100 picks but how many of these players are going to play right away. At the same time, moving back 28 spots without getting a future first is sacrificing a lot. I like the out-of-the-box thinking though.

  • If the Patriots feel like they’re willing to get very creative on offense, Worthy and Legette would be a fun pairing. They’re both primarily YAC threats, but Worthy wins with speed while Legette wins with size and power. Speaking of power, Ray Davis is one of the toughest runners in this class and could be a problem if the NFL decides to strictly enforce the ban on hip-drop tackles. Still, that may be a bit early for the Patriots to take a running back – especially having not drafted a tackle. That position would remain a major question mark with Rouse a true project player.

    I do like the pick of Erick All late. While that might overall be a bit unrealistic of a draft slot for him, he’s still a good player to know. All looked like a top-100 draft pick after the 2021 season when he played at Michigan, but suffered a back injury and missed most of 2022. After transferring to Iowa, the lackluster offense prevented him from producing much in 2023. For teams that believe in his 2021 tape though, he’s certainly a project worth investing in on Day 3.

  • I’ve seen some people ask about trading down from three to four, since the Cardinals likely won’t take a quarterback. That works in theory, but if the Cardinals are smart they would quickly turn around and deal the pick for a haul. It would be a tremendous risk.

    As for the players in this draft though, good job by Alec. We’ve already talked about Xavier Legette adding a new dynamic to the Patriots’ offense, and Ja’Tavion Sanders is a great fit for Alex Van Pelt’s system (he’s even drawn some comparisons to Browns tight end David Njoku). While I don’t love waiting on a tackle until the fourth pick, Kiran Amegadjie is a good get who may not be a Day 1 starter but could be a Year 1 starter. Chau Smith-Wade and Nehemiah Pritchett are typical Patriots defensive backs who would add good depth.

  • We’re 17 mock drafts in and I somehow haven’t mentioned Bub Means yet. Means has flown far under the radar during the pre-draft process, but flashes some intriguing traits. He was one of the best athletic testers at the Combine, especially for his size (6-foot-1, 212 pounds at the Combine). As a player Means is a primarily intermediate and deep receiver who is best at picking up separation down the field. Late last season he started flashing more after the catch as well.

    One of the bigger knocks on Means though – and a reason he’s likely not talked about more – is his lack of production. In a class full of star receivers, his career year in 2023 saw him catch 41 passes for 721 yards and six touchdowns. Not bad, but certainly on the lower side compared to most receivers coming out this year. A lot of his production issues can be put on Pitt’s rough quarterback play, but whatever the reason teams will have to project with his evaluation more than the typical receiver. For that reason he’s likely not a be-all-end-all Day 3 steal of an answer for the Patriots, but he’d be a really strong choice if they want to double up at the position.

  • As I’ve stated multiple times through both Mock Draft Mailbags, if the quarterback isn’t the pick at three I would rather the Patriots build up the roster elsewhere and shift the QB focus to 2025 – maybe picking up a project QB on Day 3. This draft does that, but there’s really no need for two project quarterbacks. Will both have enough snaps to develop?

    These are two very different quarterbacks too. Milton is a big, powerful downfield thrower while Travis is smaller and more of a short and intermediate thrower who can also make plays with his legs. Both do have major red flags – for Milton it’s his age (24) and lack of development throughout his long college career (six years), and for Travis it’s his size and the fact he suffered a significant leg injury at the end of the 2023 season.

  • I’m a major believer in the Patriots needing to take the quarterback they believe in third overall, and not risk trading down and getting jumped for their guy. That being said if that’s what they’re set on doing, this is a pretty good draft. They’d be the first team in 30 years to trade down from a top five pick and take a quarterback but they’d get the best deep ball thrower in the draft in Michael Penix, a deep ball receiver to pair with him, and then two very solid tackles.

    Speaking of Penix, very few mocks had him going at 34 – which shows you are all doing your research. He played like a first-round pick during the season, cleared medical testing at the Combine, and had a standout pro day. The league should have seen enough at this point to make him a first-round pick.

  • A few of you included Ricky Pearsall in your mock drafts. What stands out about his game is how he does every thing with a purpose and intensity. That kind of nuance and effort would be great for a rookie quarterback to work with.

    This draft also includes Xavier Thomas, who is a good potential Patriots target to know. He’ll probably end up going a little higher than this, and may be more in play at pick 137. A speed rusher off the edge, he’d be a good developmental player to have who could potentially take over Josh Uche’s role if he leaves when his contract is up next year.

  • The Patriots met with Malik Nabers at LSU’s pro day. Was that just to gather more info on Jayden Daniels, or something more? If the Patriots do trade down to six – a logical spot for them to end up – he’d be among their best options on the board.

    And while most fans probably don’t want to see the Patriots go defense-heavy in the top 100, this would be a great draft for the defense. Mike Sainristil, who played his high school football in Everett, is simply a playmaker. He can play just about every spot in the secondary and has a tremendous nose for the football.

    Then there’s T’Vondre Sweat, who checks in at 6-foot-4, 366 pounds and plays with the kind of power a player of that size should. He’s going to be a nightmare for offenses to have to scheme around on early downs, and while he likely won’t put up big numbers his presence will open opportunities for rushers around him. Having him occupy blockers with guys like Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, Christian Barmore, and Keion White on the field would be an old school Patriots defensive philosophy they haven’t been able to turn to much since Vince Wilfork retired.

  • Talk about investing in the offensive line! Joe Alt and Talises Fuaga are Day 1 starting left and right tackles, respectively. That would allow Mike Onwenu to kick back into right guard. Then Jackson Powers-Johnson would probably compete with Cole Strange for the left guard spot in 2024, and eventually take over at center for David Andrews.

  • A common talking point around the Patriots’ 34th overall pick has been targeting a receiver that has a ‘surprise’ fall from the first round given all the talent at the position. That’s still possible, but what if no receivers fall and instead push a tackle down? That could be equally beneficial to the Patriots. If teams are really worried about Amarius Mims’ lack of experience he could end up being that guy. Troy Fautanu and Tyler Guyton would be other names to watch in that regard.

  • 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].

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.