Patriots Draft Grades: Rounding up New England's grades from league experts

Sep 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10)
Sep 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There were a lot of expectations placed on this year's draft for the Patriots, not just because of how many critical roster holes needed to be addressed but also because it was the first year in over two decades without Bill Belichick calling the shots.

Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf were in charge of making most of the decisions, making their vision of how to improve the roster a reality.

For the most part, Patriots fans and NFL commentators seemed to praise their 2024 Draft Class, which is not easy to do and has not been common in New England as of late. With so much riding on the outcome of the selected players, it's an excellent immediate reaction from those who evaluate talent.

Because of that, some of the most notable draft experts have awarded the team high grades for their selections. Hopefully, that will put some of the more pessimistic fans' concerns to ease.

Patriots Draft Grades: Rounding up New England's grades from league experts

ESPN's Mel Kiper: B

“While I didn’t love the value of wideout Ja’Lynn Polk (pick No. 37) high in Round 2, there are no doubts about his college production and potential. Can he develop into a solid No. 2 for Maye?

“New England reached for offensive tackle Caedan Wallace (68), though there was a run at the position and teams were scooping tackles up quickly. Layden Robinson (103) has extremely long arms for a guard, but he lacked concentration at times and was inconsistent as a run-blocker. I have him at No. 177 in my rankings.”

Pro Football Focus' Trevor Sikkema: B+

NFL Network's Chad Reuter: B

"New England needed a new signal-caller in the worst way. Refining Maye's skills could help the team compete in the AFC East over the next few seasons. The selections of Polk and Wallace addressed needs for the Patriots, but we'll see if staying put in the second round to take Ladd McConkey -- instead of trading down -- and focusing on a different position early in Round 3 would have been better choices.

"Robinson should have been a third-round pick, so I understood the selection, even after the team's investment in interior lineman in last year's draft. It would not surprise me if Baker turned out to be just as good as Polk in two years because of his ability to win downfield. The team picked the strong-armed but inconsistent Milton with the sixth-round selection it acquired from the Jaguars for Mac Jones."

Yahoo Sports Charles McDonald: A-

"New England had a tough decision to make on how it wanted to start its rebuild and it ultimately turned down a boatload of draft picks to stay at the top of the draft and pick Drake Maye. Maye has ridiculous upside and gives the Patriots a playmaking option while they fill out the rest of their roster. Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker should compete for starting reps in one of the weaker wide receiver rooms in the league. Joe Milton III is an intriguing pick in the sixth round and it’ll at least be fun to track his development. If just one of their offensive line picks hit, this could be the foundation for a new run of excellence in New England."

USA Today Nate Davis: B-

"Though it must have been tempting to sell the No. 3 pick for the draft assets a fallen dynasty clearly needs, new director of scouting Eliot Wolf was probably wise to stay in the fairway and take North Carolina QB Drake Maye … and hope it all goes much better than the Mac Jones experience. And it should given the support the new regime should provide, not to mention the Jacoby Brissett Band-Aid option. An offense awash in WR2s took another in Washington WR2 Ja’Lynn Polk, Odunze’s understudy … though fourth-round WR Javon Baker of Central Florida could be a steal here. And the team is apparently hoping third-round OT Caedan Wallace, a right tackle exclusively at Penn State, can man the left side in front of Maye. Hmmm. Sixth-round QB Joe Milton III's arm will outshine Maye's, and his is no noodle."

CBS Sports Chris Trapasso: A

"The first non-Bill Belichick draft in 20-plus years for the Patriots went... amazingly. I'm serious. Maye at No. 3. Spectacular. Polk is a fun, versatile piece who tracks the ball awesomely, as does the fourth-round pick Baker, who has future No. 1 wideout upside. 

"Robinson has a tremendous burst and power combination at guard, and Bell was the steal of the seventh-round. I have no idea how he lasted this far into the draft. He's a chiseled and athletic yards-after-the-catch weapon."

Pro Football Network Cam Mellor: B+

"The Bill Belichick era in New England is well and truly over. The Patriots put together an exciting offensive class, the like of which hasn’t been seen in Foxboro recently, perhaps not ever. Headlined by quarterback Drake Maye, the number one overall player on the PFN Big Board, there can be genuine enthusiasm about what New England’s offense can become in the future.

"The franchise surrounded him with a plethora of skill players in the 2024 NFL Draft too, with Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker providing excellent outlets, not to mention the versatile and athletic Jaheim Bell.

"While we’re gushing over the skill player additions, it’s worth tempering excitement over the class as a whole because both Caedan Wallace and Layden Robinson were a significant reach at positions of need on the offensive front. Thankfully, Maye has the athletic ability to extend plays when placed under pressure."

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