Patriots 7-Round Mock Draft: First-round trade-down makes for impressive haul

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Patriots 7-Round Mock Draft: No quarterback? No problem

Patriots select Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee, with pick No. 68

This might be a controversial pick since Rhamondre Stevenson remains signed for one more season, and Antonio Gibson was just brought in on a three-year contract. However, the NFL is known for not valuing running backs, resulting in teams' reluctance to pay them beyond their rookie deals, which could mean Stevenson will be gone next season.

If that's the case, why not snag the top halfback of this year's draft class by selecting Jaylen Wright from Tennessee in the third round?

As the second-ranked halfback of this year's class by PFF, Wright's addition would create even more positive opportunities for Patriots quarterbacks. Not only is he a threat on the ground, recording 136 carries for 1,010 yards and four touchdowns in 2023, but he's also developing in the passing game, similar to that of Stevenson.

He's most often referred to as an 'explosive' player, credited for his incredible speed and standout route running. Wright is considered one of the most pro-ready players in the entire draft, which would benefit the Patriots' offense as they undergo significant changes heading into the 2024 season.

Patriots select Brenden Rice, WR, USC, with pick No. 103

To really put the offense over the top, the Patriots will take the son of a legendary receiver from USC with pick No. 103.

Brenden Rice has climbed the rankings since the Combine in February, as he had previously been projected as a later-round pick. It's possible he won't still be available by the fourth round, but in this case he was and the Patriots decide to double-dip at receiver to add him to their roster.

Despite the middle-of-the-pack ranking by PFF, Rice is said to be among the more polished prospects of the class. Much of that is credited to his genetics, of course, and the benefit of learning from a generational receiver, but his naturally high football IQ certainly helps.

All that he's learned throughout his football career has culminated in him being a dynamic and speedy receiver with a knack for creating separation from defenders (which the Patriots' receiving corps hasn't been too good at in recent years), which would make him more than a solid addition to New England's offense.