Perfect Patriots' draft strategy for rounds 1 and 2 in NFL Draft

Get the top two offensive needs first, whatever it takes.
Alabama v Arkansas
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Later this week, the New England Patriots will be on the clock with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft (unless traded prior). This is the most critical draft in 30 years in Foxborough. It will be overseen by an untested NFL general manager, Eliot Wolf. It's a significant risk by owner Robert Kraft.

With all the foolishness about "Ways," Patriot, Packer, or otherwise, still in vogue, it will nonetheless all come down to whom the Pats select and at which positions. There are two positions, foremost among all others, that need to be addressed first.

While a logical argument can be made for a receiver, the two paramount positions to be addressed must be quarterback and offensive left tackle. Currently, the Patriots have no one who is NFL battle-tested at either position. Take care of those two at the top of the draft. This is how Eliot Wolf should accomplish the task.

The first priority is ... the quarterback, of course.

Put all the other pieces in place, but you're still a mid-to-bottom of the standings team if you do not have a quarterback. Have a special guy at the helm of the offense, and you have a chance. The Patriots have to use the third overall pick (unless they can somehow maneuver into more picks while still drafting a top-three guy) on their next quarterback.

The choice will likely be either LSU's Jayden Daniels or North Carolina's Drake Maye. Daniels is the preferred choice here for a whole host of reasons, but Maye would be just fine if Daniels is off the board. Barring a trade-down that can still land one of the two, Wolf should just take whoever is there at three.

Daniels is not only a super-accurate passer but also a sterling runner. He can run, not just scramble out of trouble. He's a threat to "take it to the house" on any and every given play. But Maye is also a good option. He can pass it and also run. While not as prolific a runner as Daniels, he's solid and makes the lead-footed Patriots QBs of the past three years pale in comparison.

That's the bottom line: you build from quarterback out, not the opposite. For the first time in decades, the Patriots need a quarterback and have a high enough pick to get one of the best in the draft. Do they always work out? No. But that's no determinant. You just go get one anyway.

Next up, is the offensive left tackle and here's what to do

The Patriots effectively have no offensive left tackles. They eschewed drafting any O-tackles last season and drafted just about everywhere else. That faux pas helped get Bill Belichick broomed from Foxborough. It's as simple as this: no offensive left tackle (OLT), no offense.

The 2024 NFL draft is loaded with top OLTs, most of whom will be selected in the first round. So, after using their first-rounder on the most important position, the QB, how should the Patriots address this second most vital one? Only one of the very best OLTs should be the Patriots' selection. There should be no compromise at OLT. None. ranks the candidates in this order: Joe Alt, Notre Dame; Troy Fautanu, Washington; JC Latham, Alabama; Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State; Olu Fashanu, Penn State; Patrick Paul, Houston; Amarius Mims, Georgia; Javon Foster, Missouri; Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma; and, Jordan Morgan of Arizona. All up to Foster are rated by Fox as first-round talents.

That being said, one of those top seven should be in the Patriots' sights. How so when they're all slated to be first-round picks? That's where Mr. Wolf has to get bold. For one of the top OLTs, it's time to pay the freight and get the best possible.

No doubt, that's going to take a lot of draft capital. If so, so be it. The second-round pick at No. 34 and maybe the fourth-rounder at pick No. 103 will also go. In addition, either a solid player or perhaps even a first or second-round pick in 2025 plus will have to be sent, as well. Whatever it takes, you roll the dice and make the deal. The result is that the two most important positions on the team are filled in style.

The theory here is that long-term rebuilds are phony. They may sound sensible, but they don't work. There is only one season, the upcoming one. You play for now, and you play to win. Just draft a top QB and a top OLT first, and never look back. Don't, and you'll be rebuilding next offseason again. It is what it is: NFL reality.

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