10 scariest rookies the Patriots will play in 2024

2024-25 New England Patriots Schedule: Facing the NFL's Top Rookies and Tough Teams
UCLA v USC / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
3 of 6

Indianapolis Colts - Laiatu Latu, EDGE

Laiatu Latu is the first member of the defense to be featured in these rankings. It's fitting. This kid knows how to disrupt a football game - ask Caleb Williams. Latu posted 23.5 sacks over his last two seasons at UCLA. He is a natural at getting to the opposing quarterback.

The Patriots' offensive line woes are documented. The team did address the offensive line via free agency and the draft, but is it enough to stop athletic edge rushers like Latu? This kid uses a diverse set of rush moves and has a great burst off the line to help him get in the backfield.

He has good body control and good bend. He will be a problem worth addressing for the Patriots this upcoming season.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Brian Thomas Jr., WR

Trevor Lawrence is proving to be difficult to evaluate. He has elite size, great athleticism, a cannon for an arm, and just about everything else an elite quarterback needs to be successful, yet he hasn't been.

What if we attribute that to a relatively lackluster receiving core for most of his career? I'm going to anyway. Brian Thomas Jr. is the no-more-excuses receiver Lawrence needs.

Thomas Jr. is a big receiver, standing 6'3" and weighing 210 pounds. He runs a 4.33 40-yard dash, and that speed shows on tape. He demonstrates effortless explosiveness off the line, easily creating separation. Good luck to Christian Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones.

Containing Smith Jr. is going to prove very difficult. Smith Jr. gives Lawrence a weapon, and the Patriots should fear this weapon detonating all over their secondary.