3 Patriots Trade Targets Heading Into the NFL Draft

Three potential trade targets for the New England Patriots heading into the 2024 NFL Draft.
Oct 25, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11)
Oct 25, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
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It's officially NFL Draft Week, and New England Patriots fans are buzzing with anticipation. New England's top positioning puts the team in a great spot to land one of this class' best players. But the lack of a consensus after Caleb Williams adds extra mystery to the situation.

However, this event isn't just about NFL newcomers. We've seen several big-name veterans involved in trades on previous draft nights, so that's another storyline to monitor heading into Thursday.

With plenty of remaining cap space, roster holes, and premium draft capital, the Pats are serious players to deal for a star this year. Here are a few guys they could target:

1. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

One of the most glaring weaknesses in New England right now is the lack of a true top wide receiver. Assuming Demario Douglas doesn't take a major leap toward stardom, this pass-catching group is made up of only WR2- and WR3-type guys like Kendrick Bourne and K.J. Osborn.

Lackluster receiving talent hurt this offense immensely in 2023, and running things back with a lot of the same group would likely lead to similar results, especially if a rookie quarterback is under center.

Luckily, there's one clear solution to this problem that's generating a ton of trade buzz: current San Francisco 49ers wideout Brandon Aiyuk.

The former first-rounder is looking to get paid after taking his game to new heights this past season, which included a career-high 1,342 yards and whopping 17.2 yards per reception.

Heading into the final year of his rookie deal, Aiyuk, unsurprisingly, wants his long-term future secured before stepping on the field again for the Niners. However, he seems open to possibly heading somewhere else if the 49ers don't open their wallets.

New England is a perfect fit for Aiyuk for financial and football reasons. On the money side, Robert Kraft's squad still boasts over $50 million in cap space after most teams spent their budget in free agency, making them a top contender for his services with few big contracts on the books currently.

And on the football side, Aiyuk would instantly slot in as the Pats' top offensive weapon. He'd get the lion's share of touches -- no longer having to compete with the likes of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey for looks -- while also serving as a gravitational force that helps open up his teammates by drawing opponents' attention.

Offering up the No. 3 pick shouldn't be in the cards for New England considering the wealth of QB talent in this draft. But between their picks at the top of ensuing rounds this year and offering up potential 2025 capital, the Patriots certainly have what it takes to land their next star wideout.