New England Patriots Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: Drake Maye, Ja’Lynn Polk, Javon Baker, Jaheim Bell Usher in New Era

What are the New England Patriots' grades for their selections in the 2024 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

It’s a new era in Foxborough, Mass., after a 4-13 campaign saw the end of Bill Belichick‘s tenure as head coach. Head coach Jerod Mayo takes over a New England Patriots franchise with plenty of offseason needs still to be met, but did they maximize their draft capital in Detroit?

The Patriots’ draft grades explain how New England’s 2024 NFL Draft unfolded.

New England Patriots NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 3: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

A new era of New England Patriots football begins with a new quarterback in former North Carolina Tar Heel Drake Maye.

After Mac Jones was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason, it was apparent that the Patriots would move to give Mayo a signal-caller to call his own.

Despite rumors of the franchise fielding trade calls to move out of this spot — a hallmark of Belichick’s draft strategy — the hours leading up to the event suggested this inevitability.

For Patriots fans concerned by media opinions over Maye’s capability and potential in the NFL, consider that not only was the North Carolina passer the top quarterback prospect on the PFN Big Board, but he was the No. 1 player overall.

Maye brings prototypical NFL size at 6’4”, 223 pounds, boasts the arm talent to make throws at all field levels, and is as mentally astute as he is technically impressive.

His underrated athleticism should help provide positive early returns in his NFL career. Securing the top player in the class, at a position of need, without having to cede draft capital has all the ingredients for a high grade.

Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 34: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

The Washington Huskies dominated college football with an elite WR trio. While Rome Odunze gets all the attention, Ja’Lynn Polk is an equally talented playmaker with the ability to impact the game at all levels of the field.

It’s been a minute since the Patriots had a wide receiver with the level of explosion, separation capability, and the hands to make contested catches for fun.

Getting their quarterback with the third overall pick would have been for naught if the franchise didn’t make moves to support him. Trading back and landing a top-tier wide receiver is a great way to do business early on Day 2.

Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 68: Caeden Wallace, OT, Penn State

The 187th overall prospect on the PFN Big Board, the Patriots make a significant reach for Penn State offensive tackle Caeden Wallace. New England had a major need at the position, so it isn’t a surprise to see them pick a tackle in the third round. However, Yale’s Kiran Amegadjie was still on the board.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Grades 

On the plus side, Wallace gives the Patriots — and new QB Maye — a pass protector with the play strength to handle himself in the NFL. He also possesses a decent anchor, which should give their new quarterback some time to work with.

A potential move inside to guard also impacts the pick grade here.

Grade: C-

Round 4, Pick 103: Layden Robinson, OG, Texas A&M

The Patriots double-dip at the offensive line to kick off Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft, adding Texas A&M offensive lineman Layden Robinson. Once considered a potential top-tier prospect, Robinson has impressive size and length for the interior but may never develop into more than a career backup.

Grade: B-

Round 4, Pick 110: Javon Baker, WR, UCF

A top-100 player on the PFN Big Board, the Patriots add Javon Baker in a sign that they intend to fully support Maye in a way that previous quarterbacks perhaps weren’t. While you could argue that there were more highly regarded prospects at the position available, the productive UCF pass catcher can separate at a high level while boasting incredible catch-point reliability.

Grade: A

Round 6, Pick 180: Marcellas Dial, CB, South Carolina

The Patriots needed to add a cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft, but they waited until the sixth round to do so.

Marcellas Dial might be knocked for his height, but he plays bigger than his size and has the length to compete at the catch point. If he can improve some issues with tackling form and timing, he can be a valuable addition to the defensive back rotation.

Grade: B

Round 6, Pick 193: Joe Milton III, QB, Tennessee

The Patriots came into the 2024 NFL Draft needing a quarterback. They leave with two.

Drafting a backup for new QB1 Maye isn’t the worst idea in the world, but they already have two QBs with NFL experience on the roster and more needs to meet.

Joe Milton III has an incredible arm that could throw the ball from Boston to New York most likely, but he hasn’t showcased anything during his time across two college programs to suggest he can develop into anything more than an average QB with a canon.

Grade: C

Round 7, Pick 231: Jaheim Bell, TE, Florida State

This truly isn’t your Grandaddy’s Patriots. For years, fans have been frustrated by a lack of exciting playmakers selected in the draft, but few players are more entertaining to watch than Jaheim Bell.

He’s an uncommon athlete at the tight end position who offers after the catch value and the potential to align anywhere at any given time.

Pass-catching, blocking, motion plays to get the ball in his hands — nothing should be off the table for this offense with Bell in it. New QB Maye is being surrounded by talent to allow him to succeed.

Grade: A-

New England Patriots 2024 NFL Draft Summary

The Bill Belichick era in New England is well and truly over. The Patriots put together an exciting offensive class, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Foxboro recently (or perhaps ever).

Headlined by quarterback Drake Maye, the No. 1 overall player on the PFN Big Board, there can be genuine enthusiasm about what New England’s offense can become in the future.

KEEP READING: 2024 NFL Draft Grades 

The franchise surrounded him with a plethora of skill players in the 2024 NFL Draft, too, with Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker providing excellent outlets, not to mention the versatile and athletic Jaheim Bell.

While we’re gushing over the skill-player additions, it’s worth tempering excitement over the class as a whole because both Caedan Wallace and Layden Robinson were a significant reach at positions of need on the offensive front. Thankfully, Maye has the athletic ability to extend plays when placed under pressure.

Overall Grade: B+

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