Patriots 7-round mock draft: Several trades get team back on track

Nov 11, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA;  Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Melquan Stovall (7)
Nov 11, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Melquan Stovall (7) / Alex Gallardo-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s generally agreed the NFL is a copycat league. And with that in mind, wouldn't it be a good idea to copy the best team in the 2023 draft?

Well, that was the Texans and that smarts a bit when they’re led by someone who spent 19 years in Foxborough as a coach and executive. So, it’s only fair they "borrow" Nick Caserio’s plan, right? Or some parts of it, at least. 

The Texans weren’t backward in coming forward last year. Even though they had the second pick in the draft they still traded up to get the third pick too. And they left the draft with nine players after Caserio conducted eight trades! Nobody can say it didn't work; they wound up winning the AFC South after all.

If the Patriots want their very own version of DeMeco Ryans to succeed in his first season as head coach, they need to be similarly aggressive in the upcoming draft. 

Having said that, they need to be aggressive; they can afford to trade back in the first round. The hype surrounding the 2024 QB draft class means there’s value to be had later in the draft. And you know some GMs are going to reach for players who aren’t going to save a franchise. It will be a great time to exploit their desperation.

If the Vikings learned one thing this season, it has to be that they need a long-term replacement for Kirk Cousins. It seems likely that he will re-sign with Minnesota in free agency. But while he was injured, the three quarterbacks the Vikings tried only won 33% of their starts. The Vikings have the 11th pick, but as many as four quarterbacks could go in the top 10. The Patriots could clean up if the Vikings' preferred choice is available at three. 

Round 1: TRADE!

Patriots trade the third overall pick to the Vikings for the 11th, 42nd and 202nd picks 

Laiatu Latu - EDGE, UCLA

Laiatu Latu, the UCLA edge rusher, is slated, by some, to go the Bears with the 9th pick, but that seems a reach; he's really good, but he's not perfect. And the Bears' offense needs much more help than their defense. Latu is 6 feet 5 inches tall and able to avoid blocks with surprising ease. Latu made 13 sacks in 2023, the Patriots' leading pass rusher only made 8.5! Jerod Mayo would love to let Latu loose on third downs.