New England Patriots stun with blockbuster first round trade in CBS NFL Mock Draft

Patriots make some noise in mock draft chaos!

New England Patriots
New England Patriots / Omar Rawlings/GettyImages

Will the New England Patriots keep the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, or will they trade down and collect more draft picks to fill more top positional needs?  What they should do, could do and will do depends on how teams value the top 4 quarterbacks in the draft.

The teams top need is at the quarterback position.  With that No. 3 pick, the Patriots will have a shot at either LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. But what if the team finds value in one of the quarterbacks slotted to fall later in the round or early in the second round like Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. or Oregon’s Bo Nix?

That scenario would allow for the Patriots to listen to offers from teams hungry to climb into the top 4 or 5 position in the draft to select one of these top NFL quarterback prospects.  In his latest CBS Sports Mock draft, Eric Galko plays around with the idea of a trade that has been buzzing ever since the Minnesota Vikings acquired an additional first round pick.

What if the Patriots pull the trigger and trade the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Are the Vikings, a team believed to be high on either Maye or McCarthy, preparing to package the No. 11 and No. 23 overall pick in a trade to climb up to No. 4 or No. 3?

Galko has them doing exactly that and selecting Maye third overall.  As for the Patriots, with two first rounders will be in position to address other top needs.  At No. 11 they select one of the top wide receivers in the draft in LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr., an explosive playmaker who will finally give the Patriots that game-breaking pass catcher they have been yearning for.

2024 NFL Draft prospect Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU star Brian Thomas Jr. / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Galko writes:

“Patriots trade down here and get two extra firsts as the trade off for passing on a top quarterback in this year's draft. Thomas is one of the four best receivers in the draft, and probably should be discussed as so, instead of the ‘next best receiver after the top three.’ Thomas is unlikely to get out of the top-14 picks.”

With how deep the draft is at wide receiver, the Patriots could also opt to go tackle here with either Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga or Alabama’s JC Latham possible available at No. 11 but securing a player like Thomas Jr. would still be a win.

2024 NFL Draft top pass rush prospect Jared Verse
Florida State's Jared Verse / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

The Patriots do turn to defense with the No. 23 overall pick in Galko’s mock draft.  With edge rusher as another top need, Galko has the team selecting Florida State’s Jared Verse, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound sack king who would take some of the pressure off Matthew Judon who isn’t getting any younger.

Galko writes:

“Jared Verse could easily go in the top 10, so the Patriots grabbing him here, in large part due to scheme fit and team needs in the teens of this year's draft, is a major win. Verse can be the long-term replacement to Matt Judon, who's in the last year of his contract.”

Both picks are solid picks for a team that finished the 2023 NFL season with a 4-13 record.  While de facto GM Eliot Wolf and new head coach Jerod Mayo have done some re-tooling in free agency and re-signed some of their own important free agents, the draft will set the tone for how quickly the team rebuilds.

Selecting one of the top quarterbacks in the draft seems like the perfect start, but taking care of other needs and potentially finding that quarterback later in the NFL Draft is what could propel the Patriots to being a factor in the AFC East sooner rather than later.  Basically, Wolf and company will have to strike gold in the 2024 NFL Draft.  They increase their chances with more picks and adding top young talent in key positions.