2024 NFL Draft: 3 game-changing wide receivers New England Patriots must target at No. 34

Patriots will have intriguing playmaker options at No. 34 in the 2024 NFL Draft.
New England Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne
New England Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The New England Patriots are in desperate need of a game-changing wide receiver.  The only problem is the team have a greater need at quarterback and left tackle.  In a 2024 NFL Draft deep at each position of need, the challenge for this AFC East squad is which position is a sure bet with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

It’s a great, but unfamiliar position for the Patriots to be in.  With QB talents like Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels and perhaps J.J. McCarthy there for the taking, it would be shocking if the Patriots don’t select a top signal caller.  That leaves a potential for the team selecting a tackle or receiver with the No. 34 overall pick, which essentially will feel like an additional first round pick given the depth in talent of each position.

Who would be an ideal fit for the Patriots to add to a current receiver group led by Kendrick Bourne and 2023 sixth-round pick Demario Douglas?  Whether it’s speed, size, route running or toughness the team is looking for, there are some great prospects who have the potential to be first round picks for the taking.

Let’s look at the top 3 wide receivers projected as second-round selections the Patriots must target.

Troy Franklin, Oregon: Projected 2nd round wide receiver

The Oregon star receiver is a wild card in this draft because he could be a late first-round pick or fall anywhere in the second round.  With the No. 34 overall pick, the Patriots could easily find a WR1 talent, but is Troy Franklin that man?

2024 NFL Draft prospect Troy Franklin
NFL Combine - Troy Franklin / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

With a 40-time of 4.41 at the NFL Combine, the First-team All-Pac 12 Conference receiver, has a nice combination of size and speed for an outside receiver and he certainly put up the numbers at Oregon that makes him an intriguing option for a Patriots team starving for that top playmaking talent.

As Bo Nix’s No. 1 option, Franklin set a school single season record with 14 receiving TDs to go along with 1,383 receiving yards.  As an explosive leaper and a player who can blow by defenders, Franklin would bring some pizazz to the Patriots offense no matter who the quarterback is.

Ladd McConkey, Georgia: Projected late-first round, early second round wide receiver

It’s hard to look at Ladd McConkey and not have dreams of the next Julian Edelman for Patriots fans.  As far as overall talent, the Georgia wide receiver doesn’t top the list as far as WR1 talent, but his quickness and versatility make him an absolute fit for what the Patriots offense was in the past.

If new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt sticks with the script while adding his own wrinkles to the offense, then a player like McConkey should excel given the Patriots history of outstanding slot receivers.

At 6-foot-0, 186 pounds, McConkey runs his routes with rhythm and like Edelman can beat coverage down the field as well.  He should go at the top of round 2, but there will be no surprise if a team takes him late in the first, that’s just how much he has impressed scouts at the NFL combine and pro day workouts.

Keon Coleman, Florida State: Projected 2nd or 3rd round wide receiver

Florida State’s Keon Coleman is not a receiver getting a lot of attention, but the 6-foot-3, 213-pound receiver would bring size and speed to the outside for the New England Patriots.

As a receiver with prototypical size and an ability to go up and get the ball, Coleman is must draft option in the third round if the Patriots decide to use the No. 34 overall pick in the draft on a tackle, trade back, or uses the pick to trade for a veteran receiver (Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins or AJ Brown). 

In 2023 with the Seminoles, Coleman caught 50 passes for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns.  His size and experience as a punt returner sticks out as a player who will bring versatility to the Patriots offense.  Overall, his ceiling is a WR2, but he has the athleticism to be an impactful playmaker if put in the right positions to succeed.