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Kelley: New England Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft

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New England Patriots draft prospect, Penn State tight end Theo Johnson runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 1, 2024, in Indianapolis. Johnson is one of the top tight ends available in the 2024 NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The 2024 NFL Draft takes place in just over four weeks, I am posting a New England Patriots seven-round mock draft every Wednesday until the start of the draft on April 25. Two editions of this “Weekly Wednesday” exercise were published here. Part of this process is to see how certain decisions affect others. I’ve tried not taking a QB with the No. 3 pick. I’ve waited until Round 3 for an offensive tackle in the other two drafts, so I’m moving that up this time around. Let’s see what happens.

These drafts will be done using the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator. I will draft for the New England Patriots and post the results for the seven rounds. Only one attempt will be given each week for the draft. No trades will be made, at least for now.

These will be my selections for the Patriots, not who I believe they would draft. That is a different exercise for another day.

Without further ado, the 2024 NFL Draft selections for the New England Patriots.

2024 New England Patriots Draft, 7 Round Mock, 3.0.

Round 1 (No. 3 overall) – QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

The New England Patriots select the top quarterback left on their board (and mine) at three. Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels were already selected. Maye has been the selection for the past two drafts, and I’m very pleased with it. Despite people picking apart Maye’s game at the moment, I remain steadfast that he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. A lot of the negative comps for him are just outright lazy. That said, it is understandable not everyone will view prospects the same way. Since I’m doing the picking here, I’m very happy to have Drake Maye heading to New England.

Round 2 (No. 34 overall) – OT Kingsley Suamataia, BYU

Suamataia was just confirmed as one of the Patriots’ Top 30 visits, and I believe him to be a first-round talent. Last week I took Texas receiver Adonai Mitchell in this spot but he was not available. Since I want to try out new strategies and am a huge fan of Suamataia, this felt like a solid option. Arizona’s Jordan Morgan was the other tackle under consideration. At 6-foot-5 and 326 pounds, he ran a 5.04 40-yard dash. Nobody other offensive linemen at his weight ran as fast. Suamataia is an excellent pass-blocker. He recorded the most reps on the bench press (31) of any offensive tackle at the combine as well.

Round 3 (No. 68 overall) – WR Javon Baker, UCF

The Central Florida wideout averaged 21.9 yards per reception in 2023, the most of any Power-5 Conference player. He finished with 52 receptions for 1,139 yards and seven scores. At the combine, Baker measured 6-foot-1 and weighed 202 pounds. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not sure I love my pick here. I felt the need to take a wide receiver by this point, but there was a run of them in Round 2. It left me choosing between Baker, Jalen McMillan (Washington), Johnny Wilson (Florida State), and Malachi Corley (Western Kentucky) among others. I do like Baker, but I’d have felt better grabbing him a bit later than 68.

Round 4 (No. 103) – CB Jarrian Jones, Florida State

Jarrian Jones replaces Jack Jones as the third Jones in the Patriots defensive backfield, joining Jonathan Jones and Marcus Jones. More importantly, he is a good football player. Jarrian Jones seemed to find his niche as a slot corner. He played almost exclusively in the slot last season and had the best season of his collegiate career. Pro Football Focus gave Jones a grade of 90.1 for his 2023 performance. It was the third-highest grade for any corner in the 2024 NFL Draft. Jarrian Jones stands 6-foot-0 and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash.

Round 5 (No. 137) – TE Theo Johnson, Penn State

The draft is only a month away and I still haven’t figured out which tight end I like better: Kansas State’s Ben Sinnott or Penn State’s Theo Johnson. Big fan of both, especially in Round 5. Last week I went with Sinnott, so I changed things up just to see how this feels. Those two will be battling for position on my tight end’s rankings until the final listing is published. In actuality, both could already be long gone at this point. But since Theo Johnson was available here I’m taking him. With Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper already in place for 2024 there is no pressure for him to come in and make a huge contribution right away. But with his Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine performances, he showed he has the potential to blossom in the NFL.

Round 6 (No. 186) – DE Braiden McGregor, Michigan

I reported last Sunday (“Lying Season Edition“) that the Patriots brass was not out in full force at Michigan’s Pro Day to see J.J. McCarthy. They were there to scout out some other Wolverines players who may fall under the radar. One of those players is defensive end Braiden McGregor. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 257 pounds. McGregor looks like he can pack on more mass to his frame, and it would be beneficial to his NFL prospects. He was a five-star recruit and flashes good upside, but needs to get bigger and stronger to become a reliable rotational edge in the NFL.

Round 6 (No. 193) – RB Jace McClellan, Alabama

McClellan is 5-foot-10 and weighs 221 pounds. He suffered an ACL injury in 2021, so his medicals will need to be carefully scrutinized. He is not an explosive back, unlike some others still available here. However, he is very solid and looks like an NFL running back already. He does not turn 22 until after the draft, so there is still plenty of tread on his tires. Running back rankings are being released this weekend, so this position might get revisited in next week’s edition.

Round 7 (No. 231) – LB Curtis Jacobs, Penn State

Last week I went with Temple linebacker Jordan Magee in this spot, who I believe is currently a better football player than Curtis Jacobs. But I do believe Jacobs has a much higher ceiling due to his incredible athleticism. He stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 241 pounds. Jacobs does not have the size that the old regime with the New England Patriots looked for in their linebackers. But he posted a 4.58 in the 40. A worst-case scenario seems to be replacing the spot of departed special teams ace Chris Board in New England, with far more upside as a future contributor on defense as well. He was a three-year starter for solid Penn State teams.

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