Grading The 2024 New England Patriots Draft

The Patriots made eight selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. Let's grade them all.
Apr 26, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner (L) Robert Kraft and president
Apr 26, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots owner (L) Robert Kraft and president / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Second Round (37th Overall): Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, Washington

Wide receiver was a position of desperate need for the New England Patriots heading into the offseason, and New England continues to supplement the position through the draft. The entire Patriots 2023 receiving room combined for 175 receptions, 1,909 yards, and 5 touchdowns.

Grade: B+

The Patriots drafted Polk after trading down with the Los Angeles Chargers in the second round. Looking back on how the trade down with the Chargers ultimately played out, Patriots fans should have a pretty good feeling about how things unfolded.

Many Patriots fans were eyeing a wide receiver at 34 heading into the draft, but a record-tying seven wideouts went in the first round of the draft, diluting the WR draft board when it was New England's turn to pick. Before the draft kicked off, it seemed like the Patriots would feasibly have their choice of one of the bigger wide receiver names (i.e. Ladd McConkey, Adonai Mitchell, Xavier Worthy, Xavier Legette, or Keon Coleman) at the top of the second, but they opted to go with Polk when all of those names but Mitchell were off the board.

Polk started his collegiate career at Texas Tech before transferring to Washington, where he thrived in Kalen DeBoer's air raid offense. In his 2023 season with the Huskies, Polk hauled in 69 passes for 1,159 yards and 9 touchdowns. Polk will be reunited with New England wide receiver coach Tyler Hughes, who was an offensive analyst with Washington last season.

New England had reportedly explored trading into the back end of the first round to get one of those aforementioned receivers, and passed on Ladd McConkey due to injury concerns and Adonai Mitchell likely due to the same character concerns expressed by other teams. Will that prove to have been the right move, should they have been more aggressive in trying to trade up? Well, time will tell. That's the beauty of the draft.