2024 NFL Draft: One pivotal rookie for each team in the AFC East

These 2024 NFL Draft selections could change everything for their team's in 2024.
Florida State's Keon Coleman
Florida State's Keon Coleman / James Gilbert/GettyImages
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New England Patriots – OT Caedan Wallace (Round 3 – Pick 68)

The Patriots took care of their bigger needs in the first and second round with the selections of Drake Maye in the first round and Ja’Lyn Polk in the second round.  With left tackle as another great need, the Patriots may have reached a bit with the selection of Caedan Wallace out of Penn State…or did they.

New England Patriots third-round pick Caedan Wallace will play a pivitol role in the AFC East
Penn State v Illinois / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

Throughout his college career at Penn State, Wallace played at right tackle but that was mostly due to Olumuyiwa Fashanu taking care of things on the left side.  The Patriots did stabilize the offensive line a bit with the re-signing of Mike Onwenu who will be the right starting tackle, so Wallace comes in with an opportunity to play left tackle.  How well that transition goes could go a long way for the Patriots’ offense in 2024.

Patriots looking to make a staring left tackle out of Caedan Wallace

Standing at 6-foot-4, 314 pounds, Wallace has the size, skills and confidence to settle into the role.  How confident is he in making the transition?

“Super confident,” Wallace said during his introductory press conference.  “I mean, I play every position on the line.  I’m just excited to get there and learn from some great coaches and get after it.”

Wallace could learn a lot from Onwenu who has been very versatile during his tenure with the Patriots.  With the injury to starting guard Cole Strange, it’s possible Wallace will be moved along the offensive line depending on the left tackle situation.  If Wallace stands tall as the best option, the role is his to lose.  How good he becomes will help the quarterback situation and certainly help the offense become much better than they were in 2023, especially if Maye is the QB taking snaps under center.

The Patriots don’t want to throw their young rookie QB to the wolves and solidifying the offensive line must be a priority.  Caedan Wallace will be a big factor in how good the line becomes.