2024 NFL Draft Prospects the New England Patriots Should Target: Drake Maye, Caleb Williams Take Precedence

With big changes coming, the 2024 NFL Draft will be a crucial checkpoint for the New England Patriots. What must they do to make it a successful venture?

The 2024 offseason is going to be a big one for the New England Patriots. Big changes are coming at multiple levels, and if the team is going to right the ship heading into 2024 and beyond, they’ll need to make the most of their opportunities in the 2024 NFL Draft.

2024 NFL Draft Prospects for New England Patriots To Target

The Patriots are 294-129 all-time under HC Bill Belichick. They’ve won six Super Bowls in that stretch, and they lay claim to one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.

MORE: Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

But right now, the Patriots are 2-10. And by the end of 2023, they’ll have missed the playoffs in three of the four past campaigns. Mac Jones, the team’s only first-round QB in the post-Tom Brady era, is not the answer, and Belichick’s team is running into the ground.

Everywhere you look, New England is due for major change. Belichick will be out the door sooner rather than later, and the right QB is not on the roster. The weapons core needs an overhaul, and dozens of contracts are set to expire over the next two years.

One silver lining for the Patriots is that they have a decent amount of capital to work with. They have at least one pick in every round of the 2024 NFL Draft and two in Round 6. Plus, their Round 1 pick is very likely to be a top-three selection.

With their capital in Round 1 and beyond, who should the Patriots target? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Patriots Must Add One of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye with a Top-Two Pick

As of this writing, the Patriots are 2-10 with five games left in the 2023 campaign. They’re behind only the 1-11 Carolina Panthers in the draft order, with games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets left to play after Week 14.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have games against beatable NFC South opponents — the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — as well as contests against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers.

Leapfrogging the Panthers in the draft order may be a long shot, but New England is a good bet to remain inside the top two. If they stay in that range, they’ll be able to kick off their draft class with either USC QB Caleb Williams or North Carolina QB Drake Maye.

Unfortunately, if the Patriots are situated at second overall, they won’t necessarily have their choice among those two options. But still, they will be guaranteed one of Williams or Maye, and either one would be a quality investment for a team looking to reset its clock.

Williams’ appeal almost goes without saying, as he’s been the consensus QB1 for the majority of the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. Williams’ hyper-elite creation capacity and arm talent mesh perfectly with where the modern NFL is heading, and he can provide an immediate spark to the New England offense.

Maye, on the surface, is the more traditional of the two prospects. He’s better than Williams at managing the pocket, anticipating windows, and manipulating DBs with his eyes, but he also has high-level athleticism, off-platform ability, and arm talent at 6’4″, 230 pounds.

Maye is my personal QB1, but the race remains close between him and Williams. If you were to poll 20 evaluators, odds are, it would be close to 50/50.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels is another QB prospect who could field consideration after his Heisman-worthy 2023 campaign. He has some merit with his electric athleticism, creation capacity, and ability to generate big plays downfield.

Either way, the Patriots will have their pick between two of those three options. That’s how they’ll have to start the 2024 NFL Draft if they want it to be a success.

Patriots 2024 NFL Draft Options at Offensive Tackle and Wide Receiver

Once the Patriots get their franchise QB, supporting and providing that QB with weapons is the next order of business. Both OT Trent Brown and Riley Reiff have expiring contracts in 2024, along with Swiss-army knife OL Mike Onwenu. Outside of WR Demario Douglas, there are no reliable long-term pieces in the receiver room.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

Offensive tackle and wide receiver are already premier positions to begin with. But the Patriots’ impending needs at both spots make investing in those positions necessary in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Some of the top OT and WR prospects within New England’s range are listed below. These are just a few of many options at both positions in the 2024 NFL Draft — but these top choices help provide a glimpse of what New England might be able to add on Day 2.

Offensive Tackle

  • Jordan Morgan, Arizona: At 6’5″, 325 pounds, Morgan is a high-energy athlete with great knee bend and balance out of his pass sets. He’s also an exceptional run blocker in space.
  • Kingsley Suamataia, BYU: Kingsley Suamataia has one of the highest ceilings of the 2024 OT class with his searing explosiveness and power, and he has left-right versatility.
  • Patrick Paul, Houston: Though he’s still refining his hand usage and slightly lacks elite recovery capacity, Paul is a dominating specimen at 6’7″, 315 pounds, with arms over 36″.
  • Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma: If the Patriots want to stack OT prospects and add a natural right tackle, Guyton offers experience on the right side, along with mobility and balance at 6’7″, 328 pounds.
  • Kiran Amegadjie, Yale: The Patriots’ last venture into the small-school talent pool was a success with Cole Strange. Kiran Amegadjie has elite tools and tenacity, and he can play tackle or guard.

Wide Receiver

  • Ladd McConkey, Georgia: McConkey isn’t just a token “Patriots slot WR.” He’s a turbocharged technician with vertical speed, sharp route running ability, and excellent hands over the middle.
  • Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State: Egbuka’s injury might drop him down boards if he declares, but he’s still a very appealing three-level weapon with separation instincts, speed, strong hands, and RAC ability.
  • Troy Franklin, Oregon: A featherweight at 6’3″, 185 pounds, Franklin can be a dynamic vertical threat and a dangerous RAC weapon underneath, with all-encompassing usage versatility.
  • Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington: At 6’2″, 203 pounds, Polk has explosiveness and play strength on his side, both as a separator and a RAC threat. His hands and catching instincts are some of the most reliable in the class.
  • Xavier Worthy, Texas: Worthy’s speed is superlative in the 2023 class, and that speed can generate big plays and spread out the Patriots’ offense. Beyond that, he’s also a nuanced separator.

Sample Patriots 2024 NFL Mock Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 2: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina
  • Round 2, Pick 34: Jordan Morgan, OT, Arizona
  • Round 3, Pick 66: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington
  • Round 4, Pick 98: Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama
  • Round 5, Pick 130: Jared Wiley, TE, TCU
  • Round 6, Pick 162: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri
  • Round 6, Pick 170: Anim Dankwah, OT, Howard
  • Round 7, Pick 199: Lideatrick Griffin, WR, Mississippi State

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