3 catastrophes the Patriots must avoid in the 2024 draft

Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo watches the
Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo watches the / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There is always a lot of pressure on teams to create a great draft class that will inevitably improve their roster. That is the case for the Patriots in 2024, but the expectations are at an all-time high, given their unique circumstances with a new head coach, entire new staff, and significant roster holes.

Jerod Mayo's tenure needs to start on the right foot, especially after Bill Belichick's mostly unimpressive last few draft classes. The new head coach has a lot of difficult decisions to make, mainly about finding the team's next franchise quarterback or choosing to bolster the offense this year instead.

However, he needs to avoid a few catastrophes to ensure the smooth start of his head coaching career.

3 catastrophes the Patriots must avoid this in the 2024 draft

#1. Waiting to draft a left tackle or receiver

Besides the apparent need for a new quarterback, the other significant needs on the offense are at left tackle and wide receiver. With the departure of Trent Brown and the only true receiver signing being K.J. Osborn, both positions will need to be addressed early in the draft.

Fortunately, both are reportedly deep classes, which allows the team to still get a solid prospect in the second or early third round. But waiting to select one any later than that would be a bad idea.

It's already questionable to hold off that long, with some suggesting Mayo and Eliot Wolf seriously consider trading back into the first or second rounds to ensure they add the caliber of players they need. Because it seems clear they won't be trading for either position before the draft, it would seem most beneficial to use some of their draft capital to move up.

#2. Trading back to acquire more picks in 2025

Although trading out of the third overall pick isn't an entirely bad idea, any trade scenario will be a disaster if the return is only for picks in next year's draft.

It's almost always considered a good move to add even more picks in a future draft, but the Patriots aren't in a position to be looking that far ahead. Their roster holes are gaping and need to be addressed this year, even if they're not well on their way to a championship in 2024.

A slow rebuild is fine, as Mayo has alluded to, but giving up draft capital from this year only to acquire picks in 2025 does them no good.

#3. Neglecting to draft replacements for next year's free agents if there's no plans to re-sign them

The list of Patriots free agents in 2025 is quite lengthy, currently sitting at 42 players heading into the 2024 season on the final year of their contracts. Many of those names have become integral parts of the team that would be devastating to lose, making the decision on whether to keep them seem easy.

Unfortunately, that's not how NFL teams always view them, though.

Four of the 42 players will be heading to free agency for the first time: Christian Barmore, Brenden Schooler, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Josh Uche. Other essential players expected to test the market (as of this writing) are Jonathan Jones, Matthew Judon, and Jabrill Peppers, all of whom have proven their value to the team.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the need for the Patriots to extend several of these players beyond the 2024 season. But if they choose not to do that with any of them, neglecting to sign or draft their replacements this offseason would set them up for trouble next year.

It would create even more roster holes next year that they should hope to avoid, especially after all the issues they need to handle right now.

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