New England Patriots top five draft needs for 2024

New England Patriots OT Trent Brown (77) and the rest of O-line needs to better protect QB Mac Jones (10).
New England Patriots OT Trent Brown (77) and the rest of O-line needs to better protect QB Mac Jones (10). / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Quarterback

When the team has consistency problems at the most important position, then it has to be the biggest need. Yeah, it sucks for the New England Patriots to be in the market for a new franchise QB less than four years after selecting Mac Jones, but it would be a bigger mistake not to replace Jones.

Some believe the best route to a new franchise face is to tank. I couldn’t disagree more. There are countless examples of quarterbacks selected in the first round that turned out to be busts.

Finding the next franchise field general comes down to picking the right QB, not picking a QB first. So if the Patriots miss out on one of the top two prospects at the position, I can see head coach Bill Belichick trading down and selecting another position before using additional picks to select a passer.

Of the top projected prospects, North Carolina’s Drake Maye is the most appealing. He’s a big, strong-armed passer with the athleticism to use his legs when necessary. Caleb Williams is the most talented with Patrick Mahomes-like ability, but also raises Johnny Manziel concerns.

While not usually projected as first rounders, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix could have their names called on day one because QBs are always over-drafted. It’s a decision between a classic pocket passer (Penix Jr.) or a spread offense operator with mobility (Nix). If the Patriots trade down a few spots, they could come away with one of these players.

But to not take a QB in the first round would be borderline malpractice. New England can’t turn the franchise around without a franchise QB. That should be their first priority. The next one should be to protect him.