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New England Patriots Full 7-Round Mock NFL Draft

NFL Free Agency is in full swing, and the signings and departures from each team have changed the needs of all 32 teams. I recently conducted a full 7-round mock draft on Pro Football Focus, acting as the general manager for every team. Taking into consideration team needs and positional value I made all 257 picks in the best interest of each team on the clock. This is how the New England Patriots fared in the draft.

Despite new head coach Jerod Mayo vowing to burn money in the off-season, the Patriots have only re-signed a few of their own players and signed a backup running back. The fan base is thankful that Mac Jones is gone now, traded away to Jacksonville for a bag of footballs. The 2024 NFL Draft will be the catalyst for a desperately needed rebuild.

The offensive line is in shambles, and the entire offense needs an overhaul. The defense is solid but aging, with key players hitting free agency in 2025. This is a no-trade mock draft, so the Patriots will draft where they are scheduled to (3, 34, 68, 103, 137, 180, 193, 231).

Patriots, Drake Maye, NFL Draft

Round 1, Pick 3: Drake Maye, Quarterback, North Carolina

In all reality, there is a very high likelihood that the Patriots trade back for more draft capital rather than take a player third overall. Quarterback play was the lowlight for the team in 2023, and neither Mac Jones nor Bailey Zappe looked like they would be the long-term answer. In this mock draft, Drake Maye is still on the board at three, so the Patriots take the North Carolina quarterback.

Maye has the prototypical size for an NFL quarterback, standing 6'4 and weighing 225 pounds. He is not a statue in the pocket though. He runs a 4.60 forty-yard dash, and if he is forced to run he can pick up chunks of yardage. He is a smaller version of Josh Allen. He completed 63.3% of his passes last season for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns. His numbers were not as good as the other quarterbacks at the top of the draft, but he also had fewer weapons.

Maye shows elite arm strength, throwing tight spirals with high velocity outside the numbers and downfield. Despite having one of the worst offensive lines in Division I (something he'll also see in Foxborough) he still managed to put up solid numbers the past two seasons. Maye does take too long to go through his reads and needs to be better at reading and getting the ball out quicker.

Patriots, NFL Draft, Kingsley Saumataia

Round 2, Pick 34: Kingsley Saumataia, Tackle, BYU

The Patriots were able to bring back guard Michael Onwenu, so the middle of their offensive line should produce, but the edges are still bare. With the 34th pick in the draft, they take BYU tackle Kingsley Saumataia. He's 6'5 and 327 pounds, so he has decent size. He runs the 40 in five seconds flat. He allowed 2 sacks and 14 hurries in two seasons at BYU. He played 687 snaps at right tackle in 2022 and last season played 644 snaps at left tackle.

Saumataia was number three on Bruce Feldman's freak list, with Feldman stating, "If he wanted to be a tight end or fullback because he's so naturally gifted and has the agility, he could." He uses his weight well and has great hands to neutralize counter moves of pass rushers. He tends to be upright in his stance and needs to be mindful of his pad level, but Saumataia is a day-one starter.

Patriots, Xavier Leggette, NFL Draft

Round 3, Pick 68: Xavier Leggette, Wide Receiver, South Carolina

The Patriots have not had a ton of production at the receiver position, and they did their best to address it in the 2023 offseason. JuJu Smith-Schuster was a bust signing last year, and the team waited until the sixth round to bring in some youth. Demario Douglas showed promise, but not number-one receiver promise. With their third-round pick, they choose South Carolina wideout Xavier Leggette.

Leggette is 6'1 and 220 pounds. He ran the forty in Indianapolis in 4.39 seconds. He had 71 receptions last season for 1,255 yards and 7 touchdowns. When targeted in the passing game, his quarterback benefited with a 122.2 passer rating. He shows amazing body control, making contested catches, and catches along the sideline look easy.

He has the strength and speed to beat press coverage off the line of scrimmage, and he's able to weave in and out of defenders without losing speed. Leggette does have a tendency to let deep throws hit his pads and body instead of using his hands, and there is a concern that he only had one year of production in his college career.

Patriots, Matt Goncalves, NFL Draft

Round 4, Pick 103: Matt Goncalves, Tackle, Pittsburgh

With one side of the offensive line addressed in round two, the Patriots again grab a tackle in round four, taking Pittsburgh's Matt Goncalves. He is 6'6 and 327 pounds. His season was cut short, playing only 165 snaps in 2023, but he didn't allow a single sack. In 2022 he did not allow a sack either, on 830 snaps.

Goncalves fires off the line at the snap and can make reach blocks with ease, but is at his best mauling defenders in a phone booth. He has the strength to be effective against the bull rush, often standing up defenders with a good punch. Goncalves is susceptible to being beaten by speed rushers and needs to improve his technique.

Patriots, Maason Smith, NFL Draft

Round 5, Pick 137: Maason Smith, Defensive Lineman, LSU

New England had a good defense in 2023, and that was without their two best players (Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez). The interior pass rush was especially effective, and with the 137th pick, they will strengthen that by adding LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith. He was a 5-star recruit going into college and was unfortunately sidelined by an injury, or he might have been a first-round pick. He's 6'5 and 306 pounds and is a freak athlete.

Last season Smith racked up 18 hurries on just 345 pass defense snaps. He is long and bats down balls at the line, or is able to grab the ball carrier or quarterback even while being blocked. Scouts love his high-energy motor, and he looks to be physical. Smith could use his straight-line speed more effectively in pursuit, and his over-aggressiveness sometimes works his way out of the play.

Patriots, Jaylen Harrell, NFL Draft

Round 6, Pick 180: Jaylen Harrell, Edge, Michigan

The pass rush is the key to neutralizing any good offense, and the Patriots helped protect theirs by re-signing Josh Uche, but it's only a one-year deal, and Matthew Judon is in the last year of his deal. The team chooses to be proactive in addressing it, and takes Michigan edge rusher Jaylen Harrell in round six.

He has exceptional length for an edge, standing 6'4 and weighing 242 pounds. He runs a 4.55-second forty-yard dash and has a 37" vertical. Explosive is the word. He hurried the passer on 10% of all pass defense snaps last season and recorded 6 sacks. Harrell is also ferocious against the run and decent in pass coverage when needed.

He uses his length well and shows the ability to bend the edge. Relying solely on his athleticism, Harrell will need to develop technique and a few counter-moves to be successful as a pro. He also needs to show better instincts when locating the ball in the running game.

Patriots, Frank Gore, NFL Draft

Round 6, Pick 193: Frank Gore Jr, Running Back, Southern Miss

Rhamondre Stevenson is coming back from injury in 2024 and Antonio Gibson is replacing Ezekiel Elliott, but the team needs to think about the future, and what will happen when they wisely decline to give Mondre a large contract extension. Frank Gore Jr is the answer at pick 193. He had back-to-back seasons over 1,000 yards for Southern Miss in 2022 and 2023. He is 5'8 and 200 pounds and runs like a bowling ball.

Gore, like his dad is a physical runner that's hard to take down. He is also an excellent blocker in the passing game. He is flexible and shifty and makes defenders miss in the open field. Though he breaks tackles one-on-one, he won't move the pile on short-yardage plays. In college, he often sought out contact rather than avoiding it on runs.

Patriots, Daequan Hardy, NFL Draft

Round 7, Pick 231: Daequan Hardy, Cornerback, Penn State

Christian Gonzalez and Marcus Jones are both returning from injury this season, and Jonathan Jones is a free agent after the season. The team looks to add depth by drafting Penn State cornerback Daequan Hardy with their final pick. He is 5'9 and 179 pounds and runs a 4.38 second forty. In three years as a starter, he was targeted 108 times and allowed only 55 receptions and 2 touchdowns.

Hardy does a good job of getting his head around to make plays on the ball. He has the speed to stick with the league's fastest receivers, but his small size and frame make it easy for bigger receivers to manhandle him and make him a liability defending against the run.

Wayne G is a contributor and the host of The NFL Experts podcast. He is interactive on Twitter.

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