Over the last two decades, Patriots fans were not in the mindset of even looking ahead to the next draft during the season, especially in mid-November. Unfortunately, times have changed, and because of the disaster the team has become in recent years, it's all some can focus on as the only silver lining in a brutal losing year.
Heading into the bye week, New England currently owns the third overall selection in the 2024 draft, a position that will inevitably change as the season progresses. Only the Bears and Giants are ahead of them, two teams that find themselves in similar situations as the Patriots, mainly the inept ability to win games.
But one thing that will work in their favor is the return of Kyler Murray, who led the Cardinals to a big win in Week 10 in his first game this season. Because they sit right behind New England right now with the fourth pick, and just last week they had the third selection, Arizona winning more games means the Patriots will stay where they are currently if they continue to lose games, which most believe will be the case.
It's what many fans are hoping for now, given the talent that will be available in the top three picks at offensive tackle, quarterback, and wide receiver. The higher they pick, the more incredible options they will have.
Having the third pick is not a bad position, but the most ideal scenario for those hoping the team loses out would be attaining the first overall pick, a position they have not had since drafting Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Because they will have some significant decisions to make regarding their roster, particularly at quarterback, having all available prospects on the table would be a dream come true.
But what are the chances they actually get that pick?
According to ESPN’s Seth Walder, the Patriots have just a 4.8% chance of reaching the top of the draft, a drastically lower projection than the Bears and Giants.
The chart was also made before the draft order was updated after the completion of Week 10 since the Patriots and Cardinals have since swapped spots. But as others have pointed out, Walder's analytics do not account for how impactful Murray's return to Arizona will be, almost certainly altering the projections as the season continues.
But what the chart does highlight is the importance of the Week 12 matchup between New England and New York, a dual of two teams wanting to win but also not hating the idea of losing in order to remain as high in the first round as possible.
It will be a critical game for the Patriots as they (probably) subconsciously strive to move up the draft board with their eyes on Marvin Harrison Jr., Drake Maye, or Caleb Williams, three players who will be off the board the further down they fall in the draft order.
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