The New England Patriots are going to look a lot different in 2024. Already, the team has gone through a seismic change, parting ways with Bill Belichick and elevating Jerod Mayo as the franchise’s newest head coach. All this comes after arguably the worst season under Robert Kraft’s ownership with the team owning a 4-13 record, which was dead-last in the AFC East and the AFC in general. Specifically, the offense took a tremendous step back with Mac Jones being benched for the final weeks of the regular season. Now, it appears the roster is on the verge of a rebuild.
The good news for New England is it has have assets at its disposal to retool, including the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Below, we’ll specifically look at the upcoming draft, highlight New England’s current collection of picks, what our CBS Sports draft experts believe they’ll do with that top pick and detail an ideal strategy for Mayo and the front office.
Patriots 2024 draft picks
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In years past, New England would often receive several compensatory picks, but they are not projected to gain any this offseason.
Latest mock drafts
Key areas of focus
As you might expect from a 4-13 team, the Patriots have a lot of needs, which casts a wide net for how they could attack the draft. The top three biggest needs as we sit here in late January before free agency kicks off are certainly quarterback, receiver and offensive tackle. As you can see from our trio of NFL Draft experts above, the Patriots could address quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick. With USC’s Caleb Williams a presumptive No. 1 overall selection this upcoming spring, the Patriots are realistically looking at either UNC’s Drake Maye or LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels possibly being on the board when they are on the clock. If one or both are there, they will likely be under serious consideration. Both present the upside of being a legit franchise quarterback and would give the Patriots a strong reset at the position with Mayo coming in.
If they were to take Daniels at No. 3, that’d free the organization up to then attack those other needs with the No. 34 overall pick (the second pick in the second round). At that spot, there should be plenty of top talent still available, possibly BYU offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia (who was on the board at this pick during a Pro Football Network mock draft simulation). In the third, addressing the receiver position — with someone like Washington’s Jalen McMillan — would be a start, but the unit would likely still need more talent — either via trade or prior in free agency — to make them a feared group.
While that’s the most common approach the Patriots could make on Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft, they also could go rogue a bit. Let’s say that Williams and Maye are off the board by the time they are on the clock at No. 3 and the franchise isn’t sold on Daniels. Under that scenario, Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. could be an option and would give the Patriots an elite pass catcher that the offense has been missing for years. Then, the team could target the next tier of quarterbacks in the second round like J.J. McCarthy or Bo Nix, while pushing offensive tackle down the list (or maybe addressing it earlier in free agency). Of course, No. 3 could also result in Notre Dame tackle Joe Alt as well.
First and foremost, the Patriots need to come out of this draft with a quarterback. Nailing that pick — wherever that may be — is of the utmost importance. While all first-round quarterbacks are a dicey gamble, the Pats may be better served to go down that route to give themselves the highest chance possible to hit on the selection. However, if they are more confident in a J.J. McCarthy-Marvin Harrison Jr. combination than a Jayden Daniels-Brian Thomas Jr. duo in the first two rounds, you can make the argument. If they can come out of the draft with a promising QB, a high-upside pass-catcher and a strong offensive tackle, they’ll begin the Mayo era on a high note.