Patriots get Drake Maye right tackle Caedan Wallace in the third round

Patriots went all-in in the first part of their 2024 NFL draft.
West Virginia v Penn State
West Virginia v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

After adding offense with their first two picks in the 2024 NFL draft, the team's third choice would give an indication of just how desperate the New England Patriots were to fix only one side of the ball in 2024. Or maybe the team was set after choosing quarterback Drake Maye and receiver Ja'Lynn Polk.

Of course, once NFL teams get to the third round, they are really taking players that fit their philosophies in the hopes that those players will work out. If a team such as the Patriots has a clear vision of what works and what does not, then the third-round choices will form the bones of future teams fighting for playoff spots every year.

Maye needs to be a star, and Polk needs to be a consistently productive contributor. With the Patriots' third choice, the team went with another offensive player, offensive tackle Caedan Wallace.

Wallace is 6'5" and 315 pounds but with a frame to add even more weight. Once in an NFL weight training program, Wallace should be able to streamline his mass and be a force, especially in the run game. He does need to work on his technique, however. Many times he is too upright and has too high of pad level which allows strong defensive linemen to knock him off-balance too easily.

New England Patriots add Caedan Wallace in third round of 2024 NFL draft to protect Drake Maye

Wallace is a true right tackle, though. In other words, he won't be protecting Maye's blindside. The Penn State product's high football IQ and good coaching at a high level in college should allow him to acclimate fairly rapidly in the NFL, but while the Patriots do need to find offensive line starters, Wallace is unlikely to be a starter in 2024.

Still, he should develop into an average right tackle and that is good enough. He is going to be working with an athletic quarterback which means Wallace won't have to stick to his blocks as long. Wallace's athleticism is going to let him get out and block when plays break down and Maye has to go off-script.

Wallace might not be a great fit with a lot of teams, but for what the Patriots are apparently trying to do - a more sped-up offense that is able to create more explosive plays that are the result of a play breaking down - the Penn State right tackle is a near-perfect fit. He should be a long-term starter beginning in 2025.

Grade: B-

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