Grading Patriots' Trade Down, Selection of Ja'Lynn Polk in Second Round

Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk (2) against the
Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk (2) against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a record-tying seven wide receivers went in the first round on Thursday night, the New England Patriots have found a young target for new quarterback Drake Maye.

With the 37th overall pick, New England selected Ja'Lynn Polk out of Washington. Polk hauled in 69 catches for 1,159 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2023.

The Patriots traded down with the Los Angeles Chargers from the 34th overall selection to 37 in exchange for a fourth rounder (110 overall). The Chargers also receive the Patriots fifth rounder (137 overall).

Heading into the draft, receiver was a primary need as New England's entire wide receiving corps combined for 175 receptions for 1,909 yards and five touchdowns. The Patriots did address the position in the offseason, as K.J. Osborn was signed from the Minnesota Vikings and veteran Kendrick Bourne re-signed with the Patriots on a three-year deal, but clearly felt they also needed to inject more young talent at the position through the draft.

Receiver was at the top of New England's list of needs coming into the draft, they get a potential tandem target for Maye at the top of Round 2.

New England moves up 27 spots between the fourth and fifth round in exchange for dropping three spots in the second round. There is a strong chance that they may have been eyeing Keon Coleman at 34 and pivoted when Coleman went to the Buffalo Bills.

Pick Grade: B+

The Patriots could have taken Texas wideout Adonai Mitchell at 37, but some scouts have expressed character concerns about Mitchell, which may have moved the Patriots off of him. They get the 11th-ranked receiver in the second round.

Trade Grade: B