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Best and Worst Case Scenarios for the Patriots 2024 Draft Class



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)

While some publications want to jump to handing out grades for NFL draft picks, Patriots Football Now chose to analyze the logic and method behind the picks. The reality is that nobody knows how good any of these picks will turn out at this point. While it would be great for New England if Drake Maye, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Caeden Wallace became the second coming of Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, and Anthony Munoz, it seems a bit unrealistic. Maybe more than a bit.

There is a range of outcomes for every pick in every draft. To find that range for the New England Patriots 2024 NFL Draft class, below are the best and worst case scenarios for each selection. The scenarios are based on prospects selected in that same draft spot who play the same position. The Patriots’ picks could redefine what “best” and “worst” look like someday. For now, these options are based on the existing data.

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

Best Case: Matt Ryan. The Atlanta Falcons selected Ryan third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Boston College. He was named Offensive Rookie of the Year that season and won NFL MVP in 2016. He led the Falcons to the Super Bowl in his MVP season. The four-time Pro Bowl selection ranks seventh in career passing yards and ninth in passing touchdowns.

Worst Case: Akili Smith. Like Maye, Smith was the third quarterback selected in his draft year. After Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb went 1-2 to begin the 1999 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals took Akili Smith third. He lasted only four seasons in the NFL, compiling a 3-14 record as a starter. He threw five touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his 22 games played.

Read More: Dan Kelley’s New England Patriots 2024 NFL Draft Report Card

WR Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington (Round 2, No. 37)

OT Caeden Wallace, Penn State (Round 3, No. 68)

OL Layden Robinson, Texas A&M (Round 4, No. 103)

WR Javon Baker, UCF (Round 4, No. 110)

CB Marcellas Dial Jr., South Carolina (Round 6, No. 180)

QB Joe Milton III, Tennessee (Round 6, No. 193)

TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State (Round 7, No. 231)

Best Case: Thomas Duarte. After a college career at UCLA, Duarte was taken by the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 NFL Draft. He appeared in one game as a rookie, playing only two snaps. It was his lone NFL action. He later was a practice squad or offseason member of the Chargers, Panthers, and Falcons. He did not play in the NFL again.

Worst Case: Thomas Duarte. He’s the only tight end before Bell to be taken at No. 231. How else could a player with two career snaps be the best-case scenario?

New England Patriots Best Case Scenario

QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (2008)
WR Chris Collinsworth, Cincinnati Bengals (1981)
OT Claudie Minor, Denver Broncos (1974)
OG Paul Laaveg, Washington (1970)
WR Wallace Francis, Buffalo Bills (1973)
CB Mario Edwards, Dallas Cowboys (1991)
QB Jim Sorgi, Indianapolis Colts (2004)
TE Thomas Duarte, Miami Dolphins (2016)

New England Patriots Worst Case Scenario

QB Akili Smith, Cincinnati Bengals (1999)
WR Devin Smith, New York Jets (2015)
OT Randy Van Divier, Baltimore Colts (1981)
OG Arland Thompson, Chicago Bears (1980)
WR Erik Affholter, Washington (1989)
CB Henry Monroe, Green Bay Packers (1979)
QB Reggie McNeal, Cincinnati Bengals (2006)
TE Thomas Duarte, Miami Dolphins (2016)

Despite these scenarios, the New England Patriots hope their 2024 NFL Draft class will set a new standard for best-case scenarios at these selections. Perhaps they got the next Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Anthony Munoz, John Hannah, Randy Moss, Deion Sanders, Joe Montana, and Rob Gronkowski. Time will tell. Stay tuned.