4 Aging Patriots Veterans Who Should Be Replaced in the NFL Draft

The New England Patriots need to find a few replacements in the NFL Draft for their aging starters.
\ / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
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The New England Patriots are embarking on a rebuilding journey. Kickstarting the post-Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are in the early stages of building a contender from the ground. With that objective in mind, they are headed towards a crucial 2024 NFL Draft.

At the draft, the Patriots will try to find their long-term starters for key positions. Their need for a quarterback and a wide receiver are obvious, but they also have long-term needs that may not seem too apparent right now. Later rounds of the draft are a great way to find future replacements for veteran starters. Here are four Patriots on the decline who will need to be replaced in this year's draft.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

The Patriots' receiver rotation looks better on paper now than it did a few months ago. Kendrick Bourne will hopefully be healthy, K.J. Osborn is a nice addition, and there will presumably be a new franchise quarterback throwing them the ball.

Against all odds, JuJu Smith-Schuster is also still part of the receiver corps. Smith-Schuster, who signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Patriots last offseason had the worst season of his career, finishing with 29 receptions, 260 yards, and one touchdown in 11 games. It was widely expected that he might be a cap casualty this offseason but considering that New England didn't need more cap space, they decided to keep the veteran wideout around.

The 27-year-old will look to have a bounce-back season in a hopefully much improved offensive ecosystem under Jerod Mayo. He will likely start the season as a WR3/4 as things stand now but it would behoove the Patriots to draft a wide receiver with their second-round pick to push Smith-Schuster further down in the depth chart.