The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department

Amherst Wire

Op-Ed: Patriots Mock Draft 1.0 Post Super Bowl Edition

The debate rages on about which quarterback New England should select.
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The NFL Draft is one of my favorite times of the year. Dreams finally come true after years of effort to one day make it to the NFL. It also symbolizes a transition from the old to the new. 

One of the most exciting aspects is the unpredictability of where the best players will come from. L’Jarius Sneed, a stud cornerback for Kansas City was drafted 138th overall and star linebacker Fred Warner, 70th overall to San Francisco. In New England, we all certainly remember at least one sixth-round pick that worked out. Here is the first Patriots mock draft for 2024.

Round 1, Pick No. 3: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Drafting a quarterback this year is imperative to future success in New England. Daniels is surgical working in the middle of the field and does a great job processing his reads. The 2023 Heisman winner threw 40 touchdowns this past year after throwing just 49 in his previous four seasons. His middle-to-long throw accuracy is elite. Last season he completed 73.3% of his throws of 16-20 yards and 77.8% from 21-30 yards.

The California product excels at scrambling and extending plays. He ran for over 1,000 yards in 2023 and added 10 touchdowns. However, Daniels rarely slides and can take some nasty hits as a result. At only 210 pounds he will need to learn to slide in the NFL or risk injury on every scramble. 

Daniels is prone to scramble more often than most quarterbacks. Last season he scrambled on 31% of snaps when he was under pressure, which would likely be the highest number of any quarterback drafted in April. However, he is still strong under pressure throwing for five touchdowns and no interceptions last season while completing 50% of his passes. 

Daniels is my QB2 in this class, and I believe his ceiling is as high as fellow quarterback prospects Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. However, his floor is likely the lowest of the three. At LSU, Daniels was surrounded by strong receiving talent such as prospective first-round wide receivers Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. If more NFL-caliber weapons are not added to New England’s roster I fear he could suffer a similar fate as quarterback Mac Jones.

Round 2, Pick No. 34: Tyler Guyton, OT, Oklahoma

I expect at least one of the Patriots’ current offensive tackles, Trent Brown or Michael Onwenu to walk during free agency. Ideally, I would like to keep Onwenu at RT and bring in Guyton to be a day-one starter at LT. 

Guyton participated in the senior bowl this year and measured in at a massive 6 ‘7”-328 with a massive 82 3’ 8” wingspan. Originally a 3-star defensive lineman, Guyton began his career at TCU before transferring to Oklahoma where he found a starting spot on the offensive line. He is still somewhat raw with only 14 college starts under his belt, but his strong play in 2023 earned him a spot on the All Big-12 Honorable Mention’s roster. 

His pass blocking is already well-refined, but he needs to continue to work on his run blocking. However, his size and athleticism are traits that cannot be taught. On 355 pass-blocking snaps last season, he allowed zero sacks according to PFF.

Round 3, Pick No. 68: Renardo Green, DB, Florida State

I am aware that the consensus is that the Patriots should fill pick 34 or 68 with a wide receiver. However, I believe the Patriots will be targeting an elite wide receiver to come here in the offseason particularly Calvin Ridley or Michael Pittman Jr. Both have shown they can be top-end receivers on a team. 

If the Patriots were to sign Ridley he would slot in as a top-end outside receiver. Current Patriots receiver Demario “Pop” Douglas would continue to work from the slot leaving DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton to split WR2 reps which is less than ideal. 

Green has been rising among draft boards and currently sits at DB2 for me. He specializes in press coverage and can be one of the most physical corners in the draft. A second-team All-ACC member in 2023, Green is willing to get physical in the run game as well. He reminds me of Kansas City corner L’Jarius Sneed who is one of the best in the league right now.

I expect he will be a day-one starter for New England, but will likely share reps with Jonathan Jones opposite of Christian Gonzalez who will be returning from injury. 

Green showed out against top-10 pick Malik Nabers this past season holding him to just two catches for 20 yards on top of adding an interception and pass breakup while covering him.

Round 4, Pick No. 103: Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State

Originally, Stover committed to Ohio State as a linebacker. Not only was he on the defensive side of the ball he was also the eighth-highest linebacker recruit nationally. However, he ended up making the switch to tight end in 2021, but he did not start receiving starting reps until 2022. 

In the past two seasons, he has tallied 982 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is still a little raw, but his athletic ability is through the roof. He is a technician working up the seam in the same way former tight end Rob Gronkowski was for the Patriots. He can make safeties and smaller linebackers with ease. He seems like someone who has been playing tight end his whole life, not just the past three seasons. 

Unfortunately, the Patriots find themselves in a bind. Current tight ends Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, and Pharaoh Brown are all free agents. Bringing in Stover will help rejuvenate the position, but if both Henry and Gesicki walk, Stover will have a lot of pressure to perform next year.

Round 5, Pick No. 135: Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, WR, Georgia

In this scenario, the Patriots wait until round five to take a receiver, one of their biggest needs. While many fans would hang their heads if this were the case I do not feel the same.

Rosemy-Jacksaint did not have high-level production numbers at Georgia. He did appear in 57 games over four seasons on multiple national champion squads. He is coming off of the best season of his career notching 535 receiving yards and four touchdowns. 

On paper, he does not seem to be a star in the NFL, but his tape speaks for itself. Rosemy-Jacksaint is one of the most well-rounded receivers in the game. His senior bowl measurables were excellent coming in at 6 ‘1”-205 with the second largest hands and second longest arms. 

The Pompano Beach, Florida product is one of the best run blockers in this draft. He is not a shifty route runner like his teammate Ladd McConkey, but he creates separation with ease. 

Even without creating separation, his hands are elite. On 45 targets this season, he did not have any drops. He can make contested catches in the endzone, and he has the footwork and body control to play along the sidelines.

Round 6, Pick No. 181: Darius Muasau, LB, UCLA

Muasau is one of the most experienced players in this year’s draft class. Over 5 seasons between Hawaii and UCLA, he has played in 63 games with 51 starts. In another context, he has played over 3,600 snaps in his career including 500 on special teams. 

In that time he has totaled 338 tackles, five interceptions and attained back-to-back All-Pac-12 second-team honors. Muasau is rangy across the second level of the defense and can fly from sideline to sideline. 

He also knows how to shift out of a block and get into the backfield to disrupt the run game. The downside with Muasau is his size. Standing at just 5’11” he would be a part of a small group of NFL linebackers that have found some success. Luckily, the mold of NFL linebackers is slowly evolving to allow smaller linebackers to get involved. Kansas City’s Nick Bolton and Minnesota’s Ivan Pace Jr. are both players who measure in at under six feet and made an impact on their defenses last season.

Round 7, Pick No. 228 (Via Chicago Bears): Zion Tupuola-Fetui, EDGE, Washington

“ZTF”, as he is more commonly known among Washington fans, has been on my radar since 2020. In 2020 he dominated their shortened season earning first-team All Pac-12 honors and he led the nation with 1.75 sacks per game that year. 

Despite being draft-eligible, ZTF elected to return to Washington but suffered an injury in the spring of 2021 that limited his action. Between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he only started five games. 2023 was a resurgent year for him as he started 14 games for Washington and tallied five tackles for a loss. While he has not regained his 2020 form, the traits are still there. 

His hands are as dominant as anyone in this class. He is quick and his play strength pushes him directly through tackles. At 6’3”-248 he is nimble enough to exercise his flexibility and bend in pass rush as well. 

A lack of production over the past three seasons, and the fact that he will be a 24-year-old rookie will push ZTF into being a day-three selection. However, on raw talent alone I believe he can be a strong depth pass rusher behind outside linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive end Keion White. Another staple on the defensive line Josh Uche is entering free agency and will command a large contact. I think the staff will let Uche walk and continue to develop White. Bringing in ZTF will help rebuild some of the depth lost if Uche walks.


Overall, this mock satisfies the Patriot’s needs at QB and OT especially. I think Green, Stover and Rosemy-Jacksaint would also draw some starts in their rookie seasons as well. Unfortunately, the Patriots do miss out on getting a blue-chip receiver prospect, but I think a choice must be made. 

Out of a future star quarterback, elite offensive tackle and a number one receiver, the Patriots may only be able to draft 2/3 based on how the board falls. In this scenario, QB and OT are addressed but that could change based on free agency moves. 

Of course, there remain lingering questions on the futures of safeties Kyle Dugger and Jalen Mills in New England. If running back Ezekiel Elliott moves on, the Patriots will certainly need another running back especially with fellow running back Rhamondre Stevenson entering a contract year.

With free agency coming in March, the puzzle pieces will fall into place, but until then we can only guess.

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