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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3. Third Round (68th Overall): Dominick Puni, OT, Kansas

New England continues to address the offensive side of the ball once again with their third-round pick. The Patriots were heavy on interior linemen over the last two drafts. But following the departure of Trent Brown (2023 distractions aside), the Patriots' tackle depth chart is worse now than it was at the start of the offseason.

Okorafor was brought in this offseason and would start at left tackle if "if the season started tomorrow", but he is a major question mark. There is a reason the Pittsburgh Steelers released him two years after signing a three-year, $29.25 million contract extension. Okorafor also hasn't played left tackle since college.

After New England trotted out the most combinations of any NFL team in 2023, Dominick Puni's versatility is a dream draft pick at this stage of the draft for the Patriots. Puni played left tackle, left guard, and right tackle in his collegiate career.

Some draft boards have him listed as an interior lineman, while others have him rated at the tackle position. Ideally, New England won't have to play musical chairs on their offensive line again in 2024. But if they do, Puni is a great option to have in their back pocket.

The 6'5", 313-pound lineman started 12 games at left tackle for the Jayhawks in 2023 and was named first-team All-Big 12 at the position. This is to say, the suggestion of him playing at guard is more of a compliment to his versatility than a perceived inability he can play the tackle position at a high level.

In an ideal world, Puni establishes himself as a future starter at left tackle, developing in the shadows of Okorafor this season while standout Michael Onwenu holds down the right tackle spot. But given Puni's versatility, he protects himself from being a boom or bust prospect. Essentially, he would have to fail at both the tackle and guard positions to be a miss.