9 receivers Patriots could draft beyond the first round

UCLA v USC / Ric Tapia/GettyImages
5 of 5

9 receivers Patriots could draft beyond the first round

Brenden Rice - USC

The most obvious reason many want to see their team draft Brenden Rice is simple: his dad is the legendary receiver Jerry Rice, who most players at the position model their game after in hopes of becoming half as good as he was throughout his accomplished career.

Those are big shoes for Brenden to fill, but he's already on path to proving he's much more than just Jerry's son.

Throughout his years at USC, he's demonstrated his outstanding ability to win as a route runner against defenders and consistently impressed with how well-rounded and polished he was on the field. Rice certainly benefitted from having a father who knew the game so well and who passed on that knowledge to his son, which ultimately benefitted him as he enters the NFL Draft this year.

Having a high football IQ coupled with the evaluation that projects him to be a dynamic and high-floor option for an offense makes him an unquestioned choice for the Patriots.

Luke McCaffrey - Rice

Is there really anyone out there who would argue against the Patriots drafting the younger brother of one of the best running backs in the league?

It seems safe to assume those people don't exist, which is even more reason for Luke McCaffrey to land in New England for the 2024 season.

Although he's not expected to be the wide receiver equivalent to his brother Christian, Luke would be a solid pickup in the later rounds whose experience in the slot and out wide could be incredibly beneficial for the Patriots offense.

The 6'2" prospect is a former quarterback, giving him a deeper knowledge of how an offense operates than most others in this year's class. With just two years as a receiver under his belt, he surely has some growing to do. However, his productive last two seasons at Rice as a pass catcher prove he can become exactly the player the Patriots could utilize.

During the 2022 and 2023 seasons, he recorded 129 receptions for 1,715 yards and 19 touchdowns, all while averaging 13.25 yards per catch. If he could accomplish those numbers with limited experience, imagine what he could do with even more playing time in the NFL.

More Patriots coverage: