Patriots 2024 NFL Draft: Realistic Options for Potential First Overall Pick

The New England Patriots are trending toward having a top overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Could Drake Maye or Caleb Williams be in play for them?

The New England Patriots‘ 2023 season is becoming one to forget, but could it help yield a greater future in the 2024 NFL Draft? The Patriots’ poor record is positioning them near the top of the board, where they may be able to reset the clock.

New England Patriots Poised To Have a Top Pick at 2-10

The Patriots allowed just six points to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. And they lost.

It would have been difficult to fathom five years ago that a Bill Belichick-led Patriots team would devolve to this point — but times have changed. The Tom Brady era is long gone, and New England’s quest to find itself again after his departure has become fruitless.

For a short while, it appeared as though Mac Jones might help bridge the gap for New England at QB. But after a Pro Bowl rookie campaign, Jones regressed mightily over the two seasons that followed, to the point where he was benched for 2022 fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe.

The Patriots are in dire straits on offense. They clearly don’t have an answer at quarterback, but the weapons corps is also almost completely barren of quality talent.

Rookie Demario Douglas has promise, but by and large, the Patriots — with combined QB and weapons corps ineptitude — have fielded one of the worst offensive attacks in modern NFL history in 2023.

In fact, according to Boston Sports Info, the Patriots are the first team ever in the Super Bowl era to allow 10 or fewer points in three consecutive games and lose them all.

It goes without saying that things need to change in 2024.

Luckily, at 2-10, the Patriots are in the running for the first overall pick. They’re behind only the 1-10 Carolina Panthers (who traded their pick to the Chicago Bears) in the draft order, and the Arizona Cardinals just notched their third win today vs. the Steelers.

With a top-two pick, will the Patriots be able to right the ship and reset the clock on offense with a franchise QB talent?

Patriots Could Add Drake Maye or Caleb Williams in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Patriots picked the perfect time to need a franchise QB because the 2024 NFL Draft has two of them, at least.

LSU’s Jayden Daniels has risen into the early first-round conversation with a Heisman-worthy 2023 campaign, but for almost the entire consensus NFL Draft community, the top two passers in the 2024 NFL Draft class are North Carolina’s Drake Maye and USC’s Caleb Williams.

Maye is more of the prototypical passer at 6’4″, 228 pounds, with high-level processing ability, anticipation, and defensive manipulation IQ. But he also has stellar functional athleticism and arm talent, bringing shades of Justin Herbert with his ability to weaponize his tools within the confines of the offense.

Williams is the more chaotic option but also the more prolific creator. Williams, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2022, is a special playmaker at the QB position, with an otherworldly mix of agility, instinct, off-platform throwing ability, arm elasticity, and competitive zeal.

Maye and Williams are essentially QB1a and QB1b in the 2024 NFL Draft class. It’s that close between them, and both QBs are worthy of top-three capital with their profiles. Who the Patriots choose depends on their own evaluations — but both QBs are worthy of consideration.

Of course, adding a new franchise QB is just the first step for New England. They’ll also need to improve their weapons corps and regain stability at tackle. But the 2024 NFL Draft class is also incredibly strong at OT and WR.

There are upwards of two dozen WR prospects who could be worthy of top-100 capital, and the OT group is also very strong in the early-round range.

At the moment, the Patriots are projected to have four picks in the top 100 before compensatory selections are added to the equation.

With those picks, the Patriots could have an excess of WR prospects to choose from — from Ladd McConkey, Malachi Corley, Jalen McMillan, and Jamari Thrash to Troy Franklin, Xavier Worthy, Xavier Legette, and Ja’Lynn Polk.

More than anything, the Patriots need to invest more than a few 2024 NFL Draft selections into their offense. The first task at hand is adding a franchise QB with a top-two pick — whether that’s Maye or Williams. The next task is equipping them with the tools they need to succeed.

It looks bleak right now for New England. But the silver lining is this: The losing in 2023 has provided the Patriots with the potential energy to rebound in the 2024 NFL Draft, and the talent is there to capitalize on.

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