New England Patriots: 3 worst offseason moves by Eliot Wolf

Wolf did some good and some not so good things this offseason
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The New England Patriots and, therefore, newly minted Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Eliot Wolf's best offseason moves have been explored. Wolf did a nice job in several areas. One was taking Drake Maye with his first pick in the draft. Another was drafting offense almost exclusively. A third was wrapping up extensions for a few of the team's best young players.

Conversely, it makes sense to also look at the totality of the offseason and explore where it has fallen short thus far. Unfortunately, there are a few areas where the team has not made enough effort to improve. These will almost certainly negatively impact the 2024 season.

Seasons are built in the offseason. Neglect improving a position(s) and you do so at your team's peril. A few areas of real importance weren't well-addressed by Eliot Wolf either in free agency or the draft. The expectations here are they will be detrimental to the team's 2024 season, likely confining them once more to the bottom of the AFC East.

Eliot Wolf's gravest omission, no offensive left tackles drafted

Bill Belichick's most grievous 2023 off-season personnel blunder was not sufficiently fortifying his offensive tackle position. With Trent Brown an impending free agent (now gone), and his "big acquisition," Riley Reiff (whom time proved could neither play tackle nor guard) also a free agent in 2024, it was incumbent on Belichick to draft heavily in that area.

He used 12 picks, not one of which was for an offensive tackle. This gross omission was largely responsible for Belichick's removal after 2023's dismal last-place finish. He should have known better, and Wolf should have learned from his mistake. He didn't.

Wolf incomprehensively repeated Belichick's dereliction and neglected to draft offensive left tackles, the second-most important position on the squad. Instead, he's trying, as Belichick did, to patch up that critically important component with duct tape and glue.

He signed a low-level free agent and may try to utilize a right tackle he did draft, Caedan Wallace, thinking he can transform him into a left tackle overnight. He can't.

That method seemed to be explored if not seriously implemented, by Belichick in 2023. He drafted guard Sidy Sow, whom he may have felt could play tackle. Sow couldn't even play guard very well. Unfortunately, and heedlessly of Belichick's experience, this important lesson went unlearned by Wolf.

If a move for a legitimate left tackle is not made shortly, this season will be hampered again by inattention to this critical position.

The Patriots neglected to add top offensive players in free agency and reached in the draft

Additionally, Wolf neglected to make a splash in free agency or by trade for a highly anticipated free agent wide receiver.

He punted and shanked it. Though the team ostensibly had lots of cap space to utilize, they either couldn't or wouldn't extend to make those key additions happen.

Instead, Wolf drafted two receivers in the first four rounds. They are Ja'Lynn Polk from Washington and Javon Baker from UCF. Both project to be No. 2 receiver types, though Baker, while not a blazer, may have the potential to slide outside. The team needed to make a splash for a true NFL No. One, X receiver, and they didn't.

Also, Wolf neglected to add a true top left tackle. However, free agent signee Chukwuma Okorafor, who played almost exclusively at right tackle for the Steelers, may imprudently be tabbed to play that position. Coupled with, as noted, not drafting any offensive left tackles, Wolf has set the 2024 Patriots up for another trip back to the AFC East cellar.

Finally, Wolf and company's last error was "reaching" in the draft, as his predecessor Bill Belichick often did. Draftees such as Ja'Lynn Polk and Ceadan Wallace were considered reaches, drafted higher than some observers deemed warranted.

Belicihick's recent experience in "reaching" included first-round guard Cole Strange, just an average player, second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, a presumptive flop, and third-rounder Marte Mapu, who did little in his rookie season.

The three noted negatives are perhaps the worst moves or decisions by the Patriots and Eliot Wolf in the 2024 off-season. There may still be an opportunity to trade for a left tackle before the season begins, but it's unlikely. These players are usually too valuable to be traded late in the offseason.

The 2024 New England Patriots will likely have to live with these mistakes and take the consequences, a likely last-place or close to that finish in 2024. You are what you build.

They had some good moves, e.g., drafting Drake Maye. Yet, absent his being a top quarterback right out of the gate (which is a possibility if he starts), in the final analysis, they didn't do nearly enough.

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