Final Patriots 7-Round Mock Before 2024 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots have eight picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including the third overall pick in the first round.
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (QB04) talks to the media
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (QB04) talks to the media / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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After months of anticipation, the NFL Draft is only a few days away. The combine and pro days have come and gone, franchises are wrapping up their visits and meetings with prospects, and so-called "draft experts" have nearly exhausted their film review.

Every talking head has shared their blockbuster predictions and hot takes, and front office executives can see the finish line of "lying season". Once commissioner Roger Goodell officially declares the draft open Thursday night, none of that discourse or speculation matters.

Coming off of a dreadful 4-13 campaign, the New England Patriots toppled the Bill Belichick regime and have reshuffled their hierarchy, tabbing Jerod Mayo as the 15th head coach in franchise history and director of scouting Eliot Wolf as their de facto general manager.

In light of Belichick's departure, the Patriots have consistently peddled the idea of a "more collaborative" approach in the front office. The NFL Draft represents new beginnings, both for players and the teams that draft them, so the Patriots are about to take on a pivotal moment in the franchise's history.

This draft will be the first in nearly a quarter century without Bill Belichick in the war room, and Wolf has declared that the Patriots are now a "draft and develop team."

After passing up on the opportunity to take advantage of their extensive cap space in free agency, New England appears to have chosen to enhance their roster talent primarily through the draft.

The Patriots' third overall pick has garnered the majority of the headlines, and rightly so, but this draft is about far more than one pick. It's no secret that New England has a litany of holes to fill on their roster.

With the NFL Draft only three days away, let's take one last look at some players that Patriots fans could expect to join their team in the next week.

1. First Round (3rd Overall): Drake Maye, QB, UNC

After all the exhaustive pre-draft narratives and endless discourse, could the answer to the third pick be so simple?

Caleb Williams goes first overall to the Chicago Bears, Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye go second to Washington, and New England drafts whoever is still standing, Maye or Daniels. No trade downs, no late wild-card push for J.J. McCarthy.

Despite some reported discontent from Daniels' camp directed towards the Commanders, he still feels like a surefire bet to go two. This leaves Drake Maye for the Patriots at three. Sure, it could feel like an oversimplification, but trying to be smarter than everyone else in the room tends to backfire more times than not.

Maye is the rawest of the top quarterbacks in this draft and could very well require a redshirt year. But New England's front office positioned themselves for this scenario when they signed veteran QB Jacoby Brissett to a one-year deal earlier this offseason.

For Patriots fans, it might feel frustrating to wait to see their franchise quarterback in game action, especially given the low expectations for the 2024 Patriots. But Maye's rawness can't be rushed or you could very well risking flushing his NFL career down the drain.

New England has shown public openness to trading down for a "bag", but nothing has materialized to this point and historically, blockbuster draft trades don't take place so close to draft day. Obviously, it remains a fluid situation until someone walks across the stage, but fans should feel pretty confident that the first three picks will hold firm.

Maye fits into the prototypical franchise quarterback build, checking in at 6'4", 223 pounds. He doesn't have the scrambling ability of a Daniels, but he's shown some impressive athleticism including his ability to throw "off-platform", a trait that modern scouts and coaches drool over.

Maye's arm talent jumps off of the tape at you and has drawn comparisons to Josh Allen, who struggled with controlling his plus arm strength early in his career (hence how a redshirt year could be beneficial for Maye). Per an NFC quarterbacks coach who has studied Maye's film:

"He'sJosh Allen, Justin Herbert ... and I think his arm is comparable to C.J. Stroud's."

NFC Quarterbacks Coach

That is pretty good company to be in.

Maye was regarded as one of the premier quarterback prospects heading into the 2023 college season and performed well enough to retain his place. There are undoubtedly some concerns about the continued work that Maye needs, as he's still 21 and only started 26 games in college. Maye's proverbial "floor" brings some pause, but his ceiling is worth making that gamble.