Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (2024)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (1)

Jordy McElroy

April 16, 2024 5:56 pm ET

The New England Patriots are a little over a week away from the 2024 NFL draft, which should solidify the roster for the most part for coach Jerod Mayo and de facto general manager Eliot Wolf.

There could obviously be more moves before training camp, but for the most part, the roster will be set with free agency and the draft in the rearview. What the Patriots ultimately do with the No. 3 overall draft pick will play a big role in what the final roster looks like.

Will the Patriots trade down for more draft picks, or will they stand pat, draft a quarterback and use the rest of the picks to create the necessary supporting cast on offense? Most mock drafts have suggested the latter, but there’s no way of knowing for sure until the Patriots are on the clock.

Today, we’re projecting the Patriots’ 53-man roster ahead of the draft. Here’s what the team could look like ahead of OTAs:

Quarterback (3)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (2)

Nov 11, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) walks to an interview after the game at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  • Drake Maye
  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Bailey Zappe

The Patriots desperately need a franchise quarterback, and they are perfectly positioned with the No. 3 overall pick of the draft to come away with either Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye. Daniels seems like the better fit for Washington, which leaves the quarterback with the greatest upside going to the Patriots.

Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe being in the mix is key because it keeps pressure off the Patriots from starting Maye right away. They could bench the rookie for the first season if they want to continue improving the roster.

There should be no rush to get him onto the field.

Running back (2)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (3)

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Shaun Bradley (54) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

  • Rhamondre Stevenson
  • Antonio Gibson
  • Kevin Harris

The running back corps looks a bit different this year with Ezekiel Elliott being gone. New England signed Antonio Gibson as a third-down option in free agency, and Kevin Harris is now the best workhorse back behind Rhamondre Stevenson. It’s still a formidable group with the ability to attack opposing defenses in a multitude of different ways.

Wide receiver (6)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (4)

Jan 1, 2024; New Orleans, LA, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (5) catches a touchdown pass against Washington Huskies running back Ryder Bumgarner (25) during the fourth quarter in the 2024 Sugar Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

  • Adonai Mitchell
  • Kendrick Bourne
  • K.J. Osborn
  • Demario Douglas
  • Rickey Pearsall
  • Jalen Reagor

One of the greatest weaknesses for the Patriots has been their receiving corps. They weren’t able to land a marquee playmaker in free agency, but they make up for it in the draft by getting Texas’ Adonai Mitchell in this projection. Mitchell will finally give them the No. 1 receiver they’ve been searching for to help open up the offensive attack for other players, like Demario Douglas and K.J. Osborn.

But the Patriots don’t just stop there. They also come away with Florida’s Ricky Pearsall to boost the quality of offensive weapons in New England. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyquan Thornton are the odd men out here.

Tight end (2)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (5)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 08: Hunter Henry #85 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

  • Hunter Henry
  • Austin Hooper

The Patriots could use some better blocking at the tight end position, but they have two capable offensive playmakers in Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper. Extending Henry was one of the bigger offseason moves for New England. The veteran tight end should serve as a reliable safety blanket target for whoever is under center at quarterback for the team.

Offensive tackle (5)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (6)

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 19: Mike Onwenu #71 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

  • Mike Onwenu
  • Matt Goncalves
  • Chukwuma Okorafor
  • Calvin Anderson
  • Conor McDermott

Along with wide receiver and quarterback, the offensive tackle position is another weak spot for the Patriots. They succeeded in bringing back Mike Onwenu on a new deal, but they have yet to address their vacant left tackle spot after the departure of Trent Brown. The good news is there’s plenty of talent at the position in this year’s draft, including Pittsburgh’s Matt Goncalves, who could end up being a steal if he falls in the middle rounds.

Offensive guard (5)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (7)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 19: Cole Strange #69 of the New England Patriots looks on after the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Cole Strange
  • Atonio Mafi
  • Sidy Sow
  • David Andrews
  • Jake Andrews

Health was one of the biggest issues for the Patriots along the offensive front last season. Mike Onwenu officially moving to offensive tackle has opened up another opportunity on the offensive line for Atonio Mafi or Sidy Sow. There’s hope that Cole Strange can stay healthy long enough to finally hit his stride as well. Meanwhile, David Andrews remains one of the cornerstones of the offense at center.

Defensive line (7)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (8)

Dec 24, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore (90) reacts after a play ]in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

  • Christian Barmore
  • Davon Godchaux
  • Deatrich Wise Jr.
  • Keion White
  • Daniel Ekuale
  • Armon Watts
  • Sam Roberts

This will likely be a mostly offensive draft for the Patriots. They’re already pretty loaded along the defensive front, and unless a player they weren’t expected falls on the board, they’d be just fine going into the season with what they already have on the roster. Christian Barmore is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, and the one-two punch he provides next to Davon Godchaux is invaluable to the Patriots defense. There’s also hope that Keion White can take a second-year leap as a pass-rusher.

EDGE (3)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (9)

Nov 20, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) reacts after cornerback Marcus Jones (not seen) scored a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

  • Matthew Judon
  • Josh Uche
  • Anfernee Jennings

Few actually believed the Patriots would be able to keep Josh Uche for another year after Anfernee Jennings broke out on defense. While Jennings has shown to be the better every-down player, Uche is exceptional when he’s able to just pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. However, the one thing that should take this unit to the next level in 2024 is the fact that four-time Pro Bowler Matthew Judon is expected to return from a season-ending injury.

Linebacker (5)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (10)

Dec 3, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (8) reacts after his tackle against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

  • Ja’Whaun Bentley
  • Jahlani Tavai
  • Marte Mapu
  • Raekwon McMillan
  • Sione Takitaki

The Patriots’ linebackers are still the most underrated unit in their defense. Jahlani Tavai played as well as anyone last season, and Ja’Whaun Bentley continued to prove himself as a legitimate playmaker at the position. The arrival of Sione Takitaki should make up for the loss of Mack Wilson, while 2023 third-round draft pick Marte Mapu should see a second-year jump in 2024.

Cornerback (7)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (11)

Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (6) prepares for a game against the Philadelphia Eagles during the warm-up period at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

  • Christian Gonzalez
  • Marcus Jones
  • Jonathan Jones
  • Alex Austin
  • Shaun Wade
  • Marco Wilson
  • Isaiah Bolden

The defensive backfield in New England should be drastically improved with the return of Christian Gonzalez and Marcus Jones. Gonzalez looked like one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in the short time he was on the field as a rookie last season. Marcus Jones hasn’t even come close to hitting his ceiling, and Alex Austin flashed the potential to be a solid contributor on defense. There’s also Mr. Reliable, Jonathan Jones, who will play another major role for the Patriots in 2024.

Safety (5)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (12)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – JANUARY 01: Kyle Dugger #23 of the New England Patriots celebrates an interception for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

  • Kyle Dugger
  • Jabrill Peppers
  • Brenden Schooler
  • Jaylinn Hawkins
  • Joshuah Bledsoe

The Patriots are just as strong at safety as they were last season with Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers leading the way. Peppers had a breakout season to the point where some considered him the MVP of the defense. Dugger should be even more motivated this time around after signing a massive extension to stay in New England.

Specialists (3)

Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (13)

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide place kicker Will Reichard (16) celebrates making a field goal in the fourth quarter against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

  • Will Reichard (kicker)
  • Bryce Baringer (punter)
  • Joe Cardona (long snapper)

Will Reichard was arguably the best kicker in college football last season, and the Patriots are on shaky ground with Chad Ryland. Bill Belichick reached for Ryland in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft, and that pick blew up in his face last season. The Patriots need more consistency in the kicking game, and Reichard has the talent to provide exactly that.

Meanwhile, Bryce Baringer was solid last season, and long-standing long snapper Joe Cardona should be locked in as well.

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Patriots' 53-man roster projection ahead of 2024 NFL draft (2024)


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