It's time for New England Patriots fans to start devoting at least some of their attention to college football because their team is likely going to have a top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Patriots currently own the No. 5 pick with a 2-7 record. This franchise hasn't been 2-7 through nine games since 2000, which was Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's first year in New England.
The Patriots have a lot of needs on their roster, and several of the most glaring weak spots are on offense, including quarterback, left tackle, wide receiver and tight end.
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The top two left tackles in the 2024 draft class are Joe Alt of Notre Dame and Olumuyiwa Fashanu of Penn State. Both of them are expected to be selected in the top 10. Quarterback is another potential area of need, especially if the team decides Mac Jones is not a legit franchise player. Caleb Williams of USC and Drake Maye of North Carolina are the top two QB prospects, but Oregon's Bo Nix and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. should be first-rounders, too.
The wide receiver class is headlined by Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., who might be college football's best player. Florida State's Keon Coleman is very good, too, and projects to be a top 10 selection. Coleman is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, and he has tallied nine touchdown catches in nine games so far.
Tight end is another position the Patriots might spend draft capital to upgrade. Brock Bowers from Georgia is by far the best player in the class at that position. Bowers is an elite receiver and a strong blocker.
Which players might the Patriots target in the first round?
Here's a roundup of recent expert mock drafts and who they have the Patriots taking.
Jordan Reid, ESPN: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Trevor Sikkema, Pro Football Focus: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Connor Livesay, 33rd Team: Keon Coleman, WR, Florida State
Tankathon: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
Drafttek: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, LT, Penn State
Ian Valentino, Pro Football Network: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan