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NFL Draft

Kelley: New England Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft



NFL Draft prospect, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. warms up before an NCAA college football game Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The 2024 NFL Draft kicks off in eight days. I have been posting a New England Patriots seven-round mock draft every Wednesday for weeks, and will continue to do so until the start of the draft on April 25. Last week I posted a seven-round mock draft only selecting Patriots Top 30 visitors. This week’s “Weekly Wednesday” exercise features the first trade-down from No. 3.

I’ve tried switching up the approach in every version, taking different positions in different rounds to see how that would affect the outcome. This week the move is moving down in the draft. Drake Maye went No. 2 to the Washington Commanders. Instead of choosing between Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy, I swapped with the Minnesota Vikings. New England received the No. 11 and No. 23 picks in this year’s draft, along with Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2025. The Vikings received the No. 3 overall pick in 2024, along with a third-round pick from the Patriots in next year’s draft.

Once again, the rule is that 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…until 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.

Round 1 (No. 11 overall) – QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington

Trading down prevented the Patriots from drafting Daniels and McCarthy. However, they still nab their QB at No.11 in Penix Jr. At many points during the 2023 college football season, Michael Penix Jr. looked like a No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He throws a beautiful spiral with power and accuracy. Penix Jr. was aided by three NFL-ready wide receivers, but Washington’s wideouts benefited from having him at quarterback as well. He finished runner-up for the Heisman Trophy to Daniels after a sensational season. Penix Jr. threw for 4,903 yards, 36 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Washington went 25-3 over the past two seasons, reaching the national championship game this past year.

Penix Jr. stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 216 pounds. His hands are 10.5″. Although Penix Jr. did not run often in college, he proved at his Pro Day he could, running an unofficial 4.46 40-yard dash. Being a lefty, New England will protect his blindside with their highest-paid player, right tackle Mike Onwenu. This is all assuming the medicals for Michael Penix Jr. check out okay. He has had two major injuries (knee and shoulder) that need to be scrutinized heavily. If the medical staff green-lights the selection, it could be a major steal instead of the reach it will be perceived to be.

Round 1 (No. 23 overall) – WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Although the 2024 Draft Class is deep at wide receiver, grabbing one of the premier pass catchers is too tempting to pass up. The trio of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze are the tier-one wideouts. Adonai Michell is right at the top of the next wave, alongside LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (who was off the board). He stands 6-foot-2, weighs 205 pounds, and has 4.34 speed in the 40. Adonai Mitchell is a great way for the Patriots offense to get more explosive in a hurry. On a Texas Longhorns team loaded with NFL talent last season, Mitchell stood out consistently on film. He finished the 2023 season with 55 receptions for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns. A true difference-maker for their rookie QB right away.

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

There is less pressure on the left tackle position with a lefty quarterback. This allows Kingsley Suamataia additional time to develop, especially if Penix Jr. starts immediately. I have a higher grade than Suamataia than most, but there is nothing I’ve seen to sway me away from it to date. At 6-foot-5 and 326 pounds, he ran a 5.04 40-yard dash. No 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. For a potential franchise bookend to be the third selection for the Patriots in the draft is exciting stuff.

Round 3 (No. 68 overall) – DL Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson

Sometimes draftniks can’t be sticklers to their NFL Draft script. In Round 3, I was targeting either an edge rusher or cornerback. However, when Ruke Orhorhoro was still on the board it was too tough to pass him up. The New England Patriots do not necessarily need help at defensive tackle. Christian Barmore is a beast. Davon Godchaux is excellent. Armon Watts was brought in during free agency and Daniel Ekuale is back. There are also further depth pieces. But Orhorhoro is too good to be available at No. 68 in my estimation, and a team in need of a talent injection cannot afford to pass that up. At the combine, he measured 6-foot-4 and weighed 294 pounds. Orhorhoro ran a 4.89 40-yard dash. His production was not at the level his athleticism would suggest, but his potential is extremely high.

Round 4 (No. 103) – TE Cade Stover, Ohio State

In the weekly seven-round New England Patriots drafts, a tight end has been selected each time. Kansas State’s Ben Sinnott, Penn State’s Theo Johnson, and Florida State’s Jaheim Bell have all hypothetically headed to New England. This is the first draft that has Ohio State’s Cade Stover as the selection. A big reason is that the extra pick acquired from trading back allowed me to target a tight end in Round 4 instead of Round 5. Stover converted from linebacker to tight end after his freshman season with the Buckeyes. Over the past two seasons, he caught 77 passes for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had the fifth highest grade from PFF (75.6) of any tight end with 50 targets in 2023. Stover measured 6-foot-4, 247 pounds, and ran a 4.65 in the 40.

Round 5 (No. 137) – OT Christian Jones, Texas

Probably could have double-dipped at wide receiver instead of offensive tackle here. Or maybe go with a cornerback. But Christian Jones is an intriguing prospect at tackle that I pulled the trigger on. He played 62 career games in his college career, making him an experienced selection. Jones allowed just one sack in 2023 but was called for eight penalties. He has experience at both tackle positions, making him a solid swing-tackle candidate. He went to the combine at 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds. Jones ran a 5.04 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Admittedly, there is a bit of buyer’s remorse immediately here. However, I’m sticking to the rules of the exercise, with only one take for the draft. A potential swing-tackle to backup Onwenu and Suamataia, with some upside. Not bad for a Day 3 selection.

Round 6 (No. 186) – RB Isaac Guerendo, Louisville

New England featured Rhamondre Stevenson as their RB1. They’ve added Antonio Gibson in free agency, who does the bulk of his damage in the passing game. Guerendo gives the Patriots an explosive back behind Stevenson, who is set to become a free agent in 2025. Isaac Guerendo was not even the featured back on Louisville last season, with that distinction going to Jawhar Jordan. But Guerendo made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 810 yards on just 132 carries (6.1 yards/carry) and scoring 11 touchdowns. He also had 22 receptions for 234 yards. Guerendo turned heads at the combine, running a blazing 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. It was the fifth fastest time for a running back in combine history and fastest for one as big as Guerendo (6-foot-0, 221 pounds). Getting the No. 5 player from my 2024 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings in Round 6 feels like a win.

Round 6 (No. 193) – CB Elijah Jones, Boston College

One of the most underrated corners in the draft still being available here is a huge win for the Patriots. Elijah Jones was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2023. He has good height for a corner standing at 6-foot-1.5. He weighed in at 195 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Jones ran the tenth fastest 40-yard dash among the cornerback group with a 4.44. He finished with the best vertical jump at 42.5″. Between his height and vertical, Jones will be tough to beat on contested throws. Jones also impressed with his explosion in the broad jump (10’11”) finishing fourth. He showed solid ability to track the ball during drills. With his measurables and his production both being impressive, no idea how he would last this long.

Round 7 (No. 231) – LB Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State

Grabbing the SEC Defensive Player of the Year at No. 231 to close out this class is a solid way to conclude the 2024 NFL Draft for the New England Patriots. Nathaniel Watson produced positive results when he was on the field for the Bulldogs. He led the SEC in tackles (137) and tied for the conference lead in sacks (10.0). He is the first player in SEC history to lead the conference in both categories.  While Watson may not have the ideal athleticism to continue being as productive at the next level, his productivity and football instincts make him well worth the risk at this stage of the draft.


This is the first time I’ve added this feature to the “Weekly Wednesday” drafts. I think it’s important to defend my selections here, as Pro Football Focus only found my haul worthy of a B. If the New England Patriots left the NFL Draft with these nine players, in addition to picking up a first-round pick in 2025, fans should be ecstatic. They addressed quarterback, wide receiver, and offensive tackle all within the first 34 picks of the draft. Cade Stover is a solid addition to the tight end room. Ruke Orhorhoro seems like a steal in Round 3, regardless of positional need. A pair of Round 6 selections for prospects who should be long gone, followed by the SEC Defensive Player of the Year to close things out. New England Patriots fans may not be thrilled with trading down initially, but this draft haul, combined with two high picks in 2025, is an excellent path to retooling this team.