Next Pats Podcast

2024 NFL Draft: Why Patrick Paul is good fit for Patriots in second round

Could the Patriots target Paul early in the second round?

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A lot of attention surrounding the 2024 NFL Draft has focused on the quarterbacks and wide receivers, and it makes sense. There's a lot of exciting talent at these positions.

But another position is just as intriguing, and that's offensive tackle. It's not the sexiest position, but offensive tackle is arguably the most important non-QB spot on offense. A good left tackle helps keep your quarterback upright and helps open up holes for your running backs. It's no secret why the best left tackles get paid a lot of money.

This is a great draft for teams in need of an offensive tackle, which is awesome news for the New England Patriots. Depending on how free agency unfolds, the Patriots could lose two tackles unless they re-sign one or both of Mike Onwenu and Trent Brown.

ESPN draft expert Jordan Reid recently joined NBC Sports Boston's Next Pats Podcast with Phil Perry to discuss several topics, including the offensive tackle class. Reid thinks we'll see a lot of tackles taken early in the draft.

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"I think outside of quarterback, this is the most interesting group overall, on everybody's draft board," Reid said. "Everyone wants to see the pre-draft process play out with this offensive tackle group because I think we could see as many as seven or eight go in the first round -- an astronomical number. I think it would be the most since 2007 or something like that."

One offensive tackle that Perry has his eye on is Patrick Paul from the University of Houston. Paul is listed at 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds. He allowed just one sack and one QB hit last season, per Pro Football Focus. Perry has the Patriots selecting Paul with their second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in his first 2024 NFL Mock Draft.

2023 stats for Houston offensive tackle Patrick Paul
2023 stats for Houston offensive tackle Patrick Paul

Reid is a fan of Paul's upside.

"He's a player who's very athletic, very good hands, very strong, but he does have some areas where he needs to grow," Reid said. "I'd like to see him get stronger. He has shown improvement over the last few years in Houston. But right now, if I was to draw an offensive tackle from scratch, you would want him to look exactly like Paul from an athletic standpoint.

"He has the ingredients you need to succeed at the position; he just needs to sharpen some of those things, needs to add strength, feet need to get a little bit better, and then his hand placement needs to improve as well.

"I think that second-round range is very accurate to where he might go, but we've seen in the past players who stylistically are similar to him, as far as already having those athletic traits to where you get him coached up, and then they end up being those dependable starters for you. I think Patrick Paul can eventually be that dependable starter, but if you're depending on him to be that high-impact guy in Year 1, I don't really see that because even though he has the ingredients, he just needs that proper coaching to really develop him."

A lot of what the Patriots do in the second round of the draft might depend on which players they can keep or bring in during free agency.

If the Patriots are able to re-sign Onwenu or Brown, maybe they go wide receiver with the No. 34 overall pick. They could also package the No. 34 pick and trade back into Round 1. There are a lot of possibilities for the Patriots, which is a good problem to have.

Also in this episode:

  • Phil Perry’s Mock Draft 1.0 
  • ESPN's Jordan Reid analyzes differences between Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels. 
  • Which Senior Bowl players could be Patriots fits? 
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