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Patriots Daily

Patriots Football Sunday: “We’re Going to New England”



New England Patriots first round draft pick Drake Maye, former North Carolina quarterback, poses with team owner Robert Kraft, left, and team president Jonathan Kraft, right, during an NFL football news conference, Friday, April 26, 2024, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The New England Patriots completed their 2024 NFL Draft, the first in a quarter century without Bill Belichick on staff. Eliot Wolf and the rest of the Patriots’ decision-makers selected seven offensive players with their eight selections. The Patriots Draft Class of 2024 has been introduced, with their statistics, measurables, and backgrounds. But over the past few days, people have gotten to know them a bit better as people as well. A closer look at the Patriots rookies:

QB Drake Maye, North Carolina

Maye was the No. 3 overall selection, the franchise’s highest selection since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. People (including here) have raved about his potential while citing areas needing improvement. One of the most fun aspects of Drake Maye getting drafted was the abuse he took from his three older brothers. As the youngest of six brothers myself, I could relate. Like all good youngest siblings, Maye has learned to take the abuse with good humor. This attribute serves him well in the Boston sports media market.

WR Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington

Polk played in the shadows of multiple first-round picks for the Huskies. QB Michael Penix went No. 8 to Atlanta. WR Rome Odunze followed at No. 9 to Chicago. OT Troy Fautanu rounded out a trio of Round 1 Washington players at No. 20 to Pittsburgh. But Polk found out that his talent and production got the attention of NFL scouts when the New England Patriots called his name at No. 37. The excitement of his family and friends was awesome to witness.

OT Caeden Wallace, Penn State

Drake Maye’s brothers excelled as athletes as well. One won a national championship with North Carolina in basketball, while another won a national championship with Florida in baseball. Charles Wallace, brother of New England’s third-round selection, also attends the University of Florida. He is there for a different reason though, as he is getting his PhD in oyster science studying how people interact with the environment.

OL Layden Robinson, Texas A&M

In a call with the media, Robinson said his coaching staff at Texas A&M instilled in him to, “Be a grinder. Just go in there and be tough, be gritty, and go after people over and over, and over and over again.” These qualities will endear him to New England Patriots fans quickly. He said he grew up looking up to Dallas Cowboys legend Larry Allen. The Patriots hope they get the same “effort and strength and finishes” from Robison that he admired in Allen.

WR Javon Baker, UCF

Baker made it clear immediately he is anything but boring. After his selection, he took to Instagram Live to let the other NFL know, “Took too f—ing long. You gotta pay.” When Javon Baker spoke with the media later in the day he said, “Just come to the home stadium, bring y’all popcorn.” He then added, “I make people in wheelchairs stand up.” If the Miracle Worker produces for the Patriots, he will quickly become a fan favorite in New England.

CB Marcellas Dial Jr., South Carolina

Sometimes it is lost on fans and media alike that professional athletes are human beings. Whether a player is the first or last selection in a draft, it is an incredible accomplishment. One that deserves to be celebrated. The pure joy felt by Marcellas Dial Jr. and his supporting crew (his daughter held front and center) was perfect. It was a special moment, shared with the most special people in his life.

QB Joe Milton III, Tennessee

In addition to confirming that The New England Patriots had not talked to him about playing any other positions (tight end, wide receiver), Joe Milton III also just soaked in the moment. “It’s a wonderful moment. I am pretty much speechless at this point. I’m kind of fumbling over myself, so I am kind of speechless,” said Milton. Pretty incredible to have somebody with such insane athletic ability be overwhelmed by being recognized for his athletic prowess. Great stuff.

TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State

Finally, Jaheim Bell rounded out the New England Patriots selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. He is versatile and athletic. Many had him projected to go much earlier. This Senior Bowl interview shows him speaking about what he liked most about Florida State head coach Mike Norvell. “Practice. He’s a character, he comes with a lot of energy. He’s not going to let you b—s— around.” Sounds like he will be incredibly popular with the coaching staff in Foxboro.