Way-too-early predictions for the Patriots 2024 season

Could 2024 be the year of the comeback for Patriots stars?

Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38)
Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl is in the books, and we are officially on the path to the 2024 NFL Draft. This is set to be a pivotal offseason for the Patriots franchise, with many different directions on the table for New England to go. What will happen when all of the dust settles? Here's a very early look at what could be.

1. Rhamondre Stevenson bounces back

With the Patriots likely to select a QB in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Stevenson will be a welcomed sight for a young rookie QB. Look for "Mondre" to blow past his career high in rushing yards (1,040 in 2022) and challenge for the NFL rushing crown.

In 2023, Christian McCaffrey led the league with 1,459 yards, and only four other players finished with more yards than Stevenson's career-high.

If he does indeed challenge for the rushing title, you can almost certainly book his flight to New Orleans for the NFL Honors Award show as a Comeback Player of the Year finalist.

2. Jayden Daniels wins Rookie of the Year

About that rookie quarterback… We won’t know until April who will be the Pats’ signal caller of the future, but Daniels has been mentioned in multiple mock drafts as one of the possible scenarios. With a running back like Stevenson to carry the majority of the load, a dual threat like Daniels has the potential to put up big numbers.

Expect Daniels to showcase his arm and legs en route to 4,000 yards passing while flirting with the 1,000-yard rushing mark. No quarterback in NFL history has ever reached both 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season, but expect Daniels to push that limit for seasons to come.

3. Patriots make significant strides but fail to make the playoffs

It's easy to look at the 2023 Houston Texans as the blueprint, but even with the similarities, New England needs to temper its expectations for 2024. The Patriots enter 2024 with a former franchise-favorite linebacker-turned-head coach, potentially a rookie quarterback, and a defense fit to carry the team. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, the Patriots will have to go through more than just the Colts, Jaguars, and Titans of the world. Buffalo and Miami finished 11-6 in 2023 - better than Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee - and there's no reason to suggest that 2024 will be any easier in the AFC East.

New England will have to earn its spot atop the division, but 7-10 in 2024 should be no cause for panic. The process is just beginning.

4. Christian Gonzalez becomes one of the top corners in the NFL

Gonzalez turned heads in his four games as a rookie in 2023 before his season ended with an injury against the Cowboys in week four. While he only recorded one interception, it was a big one in a standout performance covering Tyreek Hill in week two.

Gonzalez showed more than just coverage ability, recording 17 tackles (14 solo) and one tackle-for-loss in four games. The sky is the limit for Gonzalez, and there's reason to believe he can take the next step towards being a superstar in this league with a healthy season in 2024.

5. "Pop" Douglas continues to emerge as WR1

Being a sixth-round draft pick doesn't give a player the best odds for success, but in New England there's a bit of history for at least one sixth-round pick in particular. Demario "Pop" Douglas took the first step to writing his own sixth-round success story by leading the Patriots in receiving with 561 yards in 14 games as a rookie.

It wasn't just the stats, either, as Douglas passed the "eye" test early and often with his flashes of brilliance. On the other hand, it's easy to see that the Patriots need to heavily pursue wide receivers in both free agency and the draft when your No. 1 receiver fails to reach 600 yards. Regardless of who New England picks up in the offseason, it shouldn't deter "Pop" from holding on to the top spot in the wide receiver room.

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