NFL: New England Patriots-Drake Maye Press Conference

By all accounts, the New England Patriots' 2024 NFL Draft was a huge success. The Patriots kicked things off by acquiring their hopeful franchise quarterback before surrounding him with help at receiver and on the offensive line.

As great as the Patriots' draft was, there were a few things they possibly could have done better. Let's take a look at the biggest thing New England did not do during the draft, along with the one thing they definitely got right. 

Before we get started, here's a refresher of who the Patriots selected in this year's draft. 

New England Patriots



3Drake Maye, QB, UNCB


37Ja'Lynn Polk, WR, Washington


68Caedan Wallace, IOL, Penn StateC-


103Layden Robinson, IOL, Texas A&MB+


110Javon Baker, WR, UCFA+


180Marcellas Dial, CB, South CarolinaA-
6193Joe Milton III, QB, Tennessee C+
7231Jaheim Bell, TE, Florida StateA+

The biggest thing they didn't do 

Honestly, I thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Patriots were going to trade the 49ers their second-round pick in exchange for 49ers wideout Brandon Aiyuk, as reports were suggesting they would. But instead of trading for Aiyuk, New England stood pat and instead drafted Polk, an extremely talented wideout with loads of potential. 

Potential is the key word here. Polk may develop into a No. 1 wideout, but that's going to take time. Aiyuk, on the other hand, is a proven top-flight receiver who would have helped speed up Maye's development. As it currently stands, the Patriots are still devoid of a proven, clear-cut No. 1 receiver who can put fear into the hearts of opposing defenses. 

The Patriots still have time to do that, though, but the clock is ticking. Along with Aiyuk, the 49ers were also reportedly considering trading fellow wideout Deebo Samuel during the draft. 

It's not the end of the world if the Patriots don't acquire a talented veteran wideout, though. They've got depth at the position and should be able to run the ball in 2024 better than they did in 2023 with all the additions they've made on the offensive line.

The one thing New England definitely got right 

We already alluded to the fact that the Patriots started the draft by addressing their biggest need: quarterback. While their old coach doesn't appear to be too big on the pick, Maye was the highest-rated quarterback still available when New England selected him No. 3 overall. And if Maye needs some time to develop, the Patriots can turn to Jacoby Brissett in the interim. 

Along with getting a quarterback, it was imperative that the Patriots surrounded him with some talent, given that New England finished second-to-last in the NFL in points scored in 2023. They did that in spades by drafting two wideouts and two offensive linemen with their next four picks. New England then pulled off a steal in the seventh round by selecting Bell, an extremely versatile tight end who should make things a lot easier for Maye. 

Let's circle back to Polk and Baker for a second. One of the things I like is that the Patriots drafted receivers who complement each other. Polk is a reliable wideout who is also known for his willingness to block. Baker is a playmaker who can stretch the field. His 21.9 yards-per-reception average in college was tops among this year's draft prospects. 

Some experts feel the Patriots reached when they took Robinson at the start of the fourth round, but I'm not one of them. Similarly, there also some people criticizing the Patriots' decision to select Polk instead of some other wideouts who were still on the board. Whether or not these were in fact reaches will ultimately be determined in the next few years.