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NFL Draft

Kelley: New England Patriots Seven Round Mock Draft



Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary (13) is sacked by Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson (14) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. Kentucky won 24-3. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The 2024 NFL Draft is nearly here. I have been posting a New England Patriots seven-round mock draft every Wednesday for weeks and this is the final version before the actual NFL Draft gets underway. Last week I posted a seven-round mock draft trading out of the No. 3 spot. This week’s “Weekly Wednesday” exercise sees the Patriots staying put with all eight of their scheduled selections.

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. These will be my selections for the Patriots, not who I believe they would draft.

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

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

When Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels were the first two players selected, grabbing the No. 1 ranked quarterback on my board was an easy choice. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 223 pounds, Drake Maye already has the size to play quarterback in the NFL. His footwork is erratic at times, though he is excellent at throwing on the run. If his flaws are fixed, I believe he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the draft. With the need to alter the trajectory of the franchise, the highest ceiling is what I’m basing my decision on here.

Round 2 (No. 34 overall) – OT Jordan Morgan, Arizona

There were three offensive tackles I had targeted with this pick. However, Jordan Morgan was the only one still on the board when it came time to make the pick. Both Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma) and Kingsley Suamataia (BYU) were selected in Round 1. Although there were some temping wide receiver options (Xavier Legette, Troy Franklin, etc) previous mock drafts have taught me that the overall value of my draft is better with a tackle in Round 2 and waiting for a wide receiver in Round 3.

Morgan has good size (6-foot-5, 311 pounds), athleticism (5.04 40-yard dash, and production (83+ grade from PFF each of the past two seasons). He could start for New England as a rookie in Week 1.

Round 3 (No. 68 overall) – WR Jermaine Burton, Alabama

Burton ranked as a Round 2 selection in my wide receiver rankings. He was the top receiver still on the board. Jermaine Burton played two years each for Georgia and Alabama. I believe he is ranked too low by many because many of his attributes are good, not great. Good size (6-foot-0, 196 pounds) and good speed (4.45 in the 40). Burton also had good production for Alabama. He caught 39 passes for 798 yards and eight touchdowns in 2023. Good, not great. But he averaged a whopping 20.5 yards per reception and received a receiving grade of 82.5 from Pro Football Focus. He dropped zero balls. Reliable hands are a shockingly undervalued trait.

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

Round 5 (No. 137) – CB Decamerion Richardson, Mississippi State

The first of two MSU Bulldogs selected here, it is surprising that Richardson is not higher on most draft boards. He has good height at 6-foot-2, though he could benefit from some added muscle to his 188-pound frame. Decamerion Richardson was ranked as the most athletic cornerback at the NFL Scouting Combine. His performance included an impressive 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. Richardson also had good on-field productions for Mississippi State, earning an 86.4 grade from Pro Football Focus in his senior season. His athleticism alone makes him an attractive Day 3 pick with the potential to blossom.

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

New England featured Rhamondre Stevenson as RB1 and added Antonio Gibson in free agency. Gibson does the bulk of his damage as a receiver. 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 but made the most of his opportunities. He rushed for 810 yards on just 132 carries (6.1 yards/carry) and scored 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) – ED Justin Eboigbe, Alabama

Perhaps I’m still living in the Bill Belichick Era, taking two Crimson Tide players in the draft. But Justin Eboigbe is a Day 3 selection I believe Belichick would love. He is listed as an edge on Pro Football Focus but worked out with the defensive tackles at the NFL Scouting Combine. At 6-foot-4 and 297 pounds, he did not look undersized to be in the group. Eboigbe could turn into a solid rotational player with versatility to play all along the defensive front. Perhaps it is proven that Eboigbe is too small to play inside and too slow to play outside (5.18 in the 40). But it is worth gambling on a first-team All-SEC selection at No. 193. Eboigbe started all 14 games in 2023 and finished with 63 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 7.0 sacks.

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.