Can the New England Patriots Get the No. 1 Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

The New England Patriots are in the conversation for the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but what needs to play out for that to happen?

The New England Patriots head to Germany for their Week 10 game against the Indianapolis Colts in uncharted territory. But instead of talking about the NFL playoffs, the focus is on whether or not the Patriots could be in play to have the number one overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Let’s take a look at where the Patriots stand in the race for the first overall pick and what they need to happen to be in a position to have the top selection next April.

What Are the Patriots’ Odds of Having the First Overall Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

After Thursday Night Football, ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) gives the Patriots a 2.8% chance of having the first overall pick. Given the Patriots are 2-7, which is only one game ahead of the two worst teams in the league, those odds feel low on the surface of it.

However, the FPI believes New England could still end up winning somewhere in the region of five games this year. Projecting five wins for this Patriots team feels aggressive, even if their schedule to this point has been brutally tough.

MORE: Full List of New England Patriots 2024 Draft Picks

They have faced the Miami Dolphins twice, as well as the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Additionally, they have a 1-2 record in what would be viewed as the “easier” games, defeating the New York Jets but losing to the Washington Commanders and Las Vegas Raiders.

New England’s remaining schedule appears easier, ranking as the 21st-toughest in the league. However, the Patriots have not made any game look easy this year, and there are some tough matchups remaining.

The Giants in Week 12 looks to be the easiest with their QB situation in flux. Yet, games with the Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets are all going to be tough.

It doesn’t seem that far-fetched that the Patriots could go 1-7 the rest of the way and finish with a 3-14 record. Although two wins may already be too many to rule them out of the first pick, a third win could put an end to any realistic chances.

What Needs To Happen for the Patriots To Have the First Overall Pick in 2024?

The NFL Draft order is decided by a set of tiebreakers. First and foremost, winning percentage is the key, followed by a team’s strength of schedule (SOS). The team with the lowest record gets the highest pick, with the first tiebreaker being the team with the easiest strength of schedule getting the higher Round 1 selection.

That is where the problem is two-fold for the Patriots. With the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals at 1-8 entering Week 10, New England needs both of them to win at least one more game. Kyler Murray’s return and the potential development of Bryce Young makes that more than possible, but even then, the Patriots need more to play out.

Right now, no team has a higher SOS than the Patriots .595. The Panthers’ SOS sits at .532, and the Cardinals sit at .539. Meanwhile, the two-win New York Giants have a SOS of .506.

All of those are lower than the Patriots’ SOS as it stands, meaning that if they finished with the same number of wins, all three would have a higher Round 1 pick than New England.

Things will naturally change and fluctuate over the next nine weeks, and the Patriots’ current SOS “lead” is by no means set in stone. The best path for New England to receive the first overall pick is for them to lose out from here. That gives them at least a shot if the Cardinals and Panthers win at least one more game.

MORE: How Long Has Bill Belichick Been the Patriots Head Coach?

However, based on current SOS numbers, the Patriots may need to finish with the worst winning percentage in the NFL if they want to pick first next April. That would require the Panthers and Cardinals to win two more games and the Giants to win one more while the Patriots lose out. It doesn’t seem all that likely, but it’s far from impossible based on what we’ve seen this year.

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