New England Patriots

Why draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. didn't love Patriots' Day 2 picks

Mel Kiper Jr. explains why he wasn't a huge fan of the Patriots' second- and third-round picks.

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The New England Patriots earned mostly good reviews for their picks in the second and third rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft on Friday.

But not everyone was a fan of what they did.

The Patriots selected Washington wideout Ja'Lynn Polk with the No. 37 overall pick in the second round. They originally entered Round 2 with the No. 34 pick but traded it to the Los Angeles Chargers. New England stayed at No. 68 in the third round and took Penn State offensive tackle Caedan Wallace.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. wasn't a huge fan of these picks by the Patriots. He put both of these selections in the "Questionable picks and reaches from Round 2 and 3" section of his Day 2 analysis story published Friday night.

"Here are the available wide receivers I had ranked above Polk when the Patriots selected him: Adonai Mitchell, Malachi Corley, Roman Wilson, Troy Franklin and Polk's college teammate, Jalen McMillan," Kiper wrote. "I thought Polk was more likely to go near the end of Round 2. Sure, the Patriots had to get some help for Drake Maye, but Polk is not a burner and he thrived on contested catches last season, which can be a risky profile. This was just a little high based on my board, where I have him No. 74 overall.

"I didn't love the value for Wallace, either. I saw him as more of a mid-Day 3 pick. He's No. 154 in my rankings. He will compete for time at right tackle, but he gave up too many pressures for my liking."

Our Patriots insider Phil Perry wasn't as low on Polk as Kiper.

"The Ja'Lynn Polk pick, right now I would give a B," Perry said on NBC Sports Boston's On the Clock draft special Friday. "I think it's solid. He is not, in my opinion, exactly what they need at that receiver position. But he brings all sorts of toughness and I do think he'll be a good fit for what they're trying to do in this offense, specifically with (offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt."

Phil Perry and Albert Breer share their grades for the Patriots' selection of WR Ja'Lynn Polk with the 37th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Perry was a little less enthused about the Robinson pick.

"At 6-3, 302 pounds, Robinson has big hands, 10.5 inches, and long arms, almost 35 inches. He uses that length and powerful frame to grind away at opponents in the trenches," Perry said. "Robinson has started 33 games over the course of the last three years, all of them at right guard. So there's some projection involved that the Patriots are hoping that he'll be an interior versatile chess piece.

"Robinson is now the team's sixth interior offensive lineman drafted since they took Cole Strange in 2022. Taking him just outside the 100th overall pick indicates the Patriots feel they have a need there. Understanding offensive talent up front is going to be necessary to protect Drake Maye in the future, we're gonna go ahead and give the Patriots a B- for this selection."

The Patriots went defense-heavy in the 2023 draft and used their first three picks on that side of the ball. The 2024 draft has been far different. Six of the team's first seven picks have been on offense.

Phil Perry shares his grade for the Patriots' selection of OT Caedan Wallace with the 68th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
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