The New England Patriots are on the clock! Well, not yet, but the Mock Draft season certainly is, with the 2023 Patriots' season down the drain early. When your team is not terribly good, there's even more reason to get to mock drafts early and keep mocking until those magical April days!
This first effort, Mock #1 for 2024, is a very preliminary one that rolls without any trades and just selects the best player available to fill the Patriots' needs. This diverges from the usual Patriot modus operandi under Bill Belichick. That would be selecting the best player the team thinks can play way above his projected consensus ability. Witness the 2022 draft for that example.
Yet, here, it will be centered on selecting the best player who the Patriots can use right away to improve a squad headed for the bottom of the NFL pile in a hurry. It's all about need, and it's all about the lackluster offense that's nowhere near NFL proficiency.
So, "Let's Go!" and select four players for the Patriots in the first four rounds and see how it looks. (Thanks to profootballnetwork.com's draft simulator for making this possible.)
New England Patriots go big-time to fill two top needs
The Patriots 2023 offense is an embarrassment to poor NFL offenses. The Mac Jones experiment hasn't worked out. A first-round pick in 2021, Jones' trajectory since a surprisingly good 2021 rookie season has been on a downward spiral. The chances of his being at the helm in 2024 seem slim and very slim. But we'll see. In any event, here we go with the first pick.
The Patriots address a critical need neglected for years on offense; it's an offensive tackle. The selection with pick No. 3 in the 2024 NFL draft is an offensive tackle from Penn State, the 6'5' tall and 320-pound Olumuyiwa Fashanu. Bleacherreport.com's scouting report has this to say about the tackle,
"Olu Fashanu is a team captain and two-year starter inside Penn State's balanced (54-46 run-pass split), zone-based scheme with 18 career starts at left tackle. Fashanu has a prototypical tackle build with very good arm length and athletic ability. Fashanu is dialed in as a pass-protector with a keen understanding of snap timing, body positioning, and strike timing. He also has the movement skills and length to thrive on an island."
The Patriots may need a left tackle with Trent Brown out of contract after this season. Yet, even if Brown is re-signed, Fashanu can step right into the right tackle spot and make that position his own until he ultimately slots in on the left. This pick is long overdue. Neglect at OT cost the Patriots any chance of a good season in 2023. Whoever is selected in 2024 will hopefully remedy that in a hurry. Offensive tackles aren't glitzy, but without them, you're toast.