Patriots can walk away with successful 2024 draft class in 4 ways

Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon State wide receiver Anthony Gould (WO09) during the 2024
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon State wide receiver Anthony Gould (WO09) during the 2024 / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

An NFL draft is just like a first impression; you only get one chance to get it right. When your team only won four games last season, there’s added pressure to make the perfect first impression.

Here’s how Eliot Wolf could make a great first impression in four steps and allow the Patriots to maximize their 2024 draft. 

#1. Trade first round picks with the Cardinals 

This is the tricky part. The Cardinals seem locked in on Marvin Harrison Jr., But there are four receivers in this draft who would dramatically improve an offense. Harrison Jr. is the best, though. He averaged 16.8 yards per touch at Ohio State and scored 32 touchdowns in three seasons! 

All the Patriots need to do is persuade the Cardinals they are going to take him at 3. The Patriots have already met with Harrison Jr., so there is a chance they’re happy to delay picking a quarterback in favor of solving their perennial wide receiver issue. Send the 3rd overall and maybe next year’s second-round pick to Arizona in return for the fourth overall and 27th pick in this draft. 

#2. Take a quarterback with the fourth overall pick 

Then the Patriots can take a quarterback at 4. It seems that they like J.J. McCarthy, but they seem to like a different quarterback each week.

That’s either a really smart way of keeping teams who want to trade up interested or some serious indecision from Eliot Wolf and his team. McCarthy seems like the most versatile quarterback (outside Caleb Williams, who is regarded as the number one pick) in the draft.  

#3. Take a left tackle at 27 

If they’re lucky, Amarius Mims or maybe Tyler Guyton will be available. Kingsley Suamataia is a consensus second-round pick, so it would be a shock if he was taken before the 27th pick. Suamataia isn’t the sure-fire day-one starter that Latham, Alt, Fashanu, and Mims are, but he is at the head of the chasing pack.

 His 5.04-second 40-yard time was in the 88th percentile for tackles at the combine, and he’s Penei Sewell’s cousin. Suamataia is a really good run blocker, and he only allowed two sacks on the 746 passing snaps he played at BYU.

Obviously, NFL pass rushers are a step up from college EDGE rushers, so that success isn’t guaranteed to transfer. But one thing is certain: the most reliable left tackle prospects will be gone by the 34th pick. 

#4. Take Anthony Gould in the fourth round 

Oregon State receiver Gould isn’t getting much love in the buildup to the draft, but one or two people are flagging him up as a surprise second-round pick. He is the new Braxton Berrios, and if that doesn’t fill you with glee, he’ll be the guy who makes everyone else’s job easier.

Gould could be the difference maker the Patriots' offense needs. He only lined up at receiver in college, but the Beavers used him to catch screen passes. He did that with some success, too; he took one for a 75-yard touchdown in September! He was also used on jet sweep run plays; he averaged 7.5 yards per carry when they put the ball in his hands.

The Patriots could even line him up in the backfield like the Lions occasionally do with Amon-Ra St, Brown.

Gould is a very talented punt returner, but that’s not why the Patriots need him. The Patriots need him to be the guy who runs the pre-snap “orbital motion” routes. They are essential for two reasons: they allow the quarterback to identify if the defense is playing man or zone, and it means the receiver can be at full speed while the guy covering him is either stationary or backpedaling.

He clocked a 4.39-second 40-yard time at the combine, so defensive backs don’t want to see him hitting the line of scrimmage at full speed. But defenses only bite on those pre-snap motions when receivers who run jet sweep plays are sent on them. Even if Gould doesn’t get the ball, the defense will be shifting in his direction, and that can only be good news for Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, or Rhamondre Stevenson.

When Berrios runs the pre-snap motions for the Dolphins, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and De'Von Achane get some breathing space when they get the ball. Those guys don’t need much space to work in, but as the old saying goes, every little bit helps. 

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