Zolak & Bertrand

Perry: How Patriots ‘lucked out in big way' entering 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 class is loaded with high-end offensive players.

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So much about the NFL Draft is about luck. A lot has to go your way for it to be successful, even if you have a high first-round pick.

A huge part of the luck factor is getting a high pick in a year that features a lot of high-end players at positions of need on your roster. For example, the teams with a top 10 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft were pretty unlucky if they badly needed a quarterback or wide receiver. It was a bad draft at both positions.

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The New England Patriots have glaring weaknesses at quarterback, wide receiver and offensive tackle, and luckily for them, the 2024 draft class is absolutely loaded at these positions. The Patriots still need to do their homework and make sure they select the right players, but there's plenty of exciting talent to choose from.

"The Patriots have lucked out in a big way this year because there are legitimate top quarterbacks at the top of this draft," NBC Sports Boston's Patriots insider Phil Perry said Tuesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub show Zolak & Bertrand.

"There are nine or potentially even 10 first round/top-of-the-second round offensive tackles in this year's draft, which is almost unprecedented, if not unprecedented. I think the record for tackles taken in the first round is seven or eight. They could break that this year."

Even if the Patriots took a quarterback at No. 3, they could still get a very good left tackle early in the second round. Maybe even someone like University of Houston star Patrick Paul, who went to the Patriots at No. 34 overall in Perry's first 2024 NFL mock draft published last week.

"So if you wanted to take a quarterback and still get your tackle, you could get that guy maybe at pick No. 34 overall," Perry said. "There are a bunch of tackles at the Senior Bowl this year, because they know after Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu -- who are the consensus top-two guys -- after that you're vying for maybe being a top-10 pick if you have a great Senior Bowl."

Another potential path for the Patriots is trading down in the first round, taking a tackle, and then using other picks to trade back into Round 1 to get one of the second-tier QB prospects.

"Say you like Drake Maye, but you don't like him enough to take him No. 3 overall," Perry said. "And then there's Bo Nix, who's also at the Senior Bowl and might be a first-round pick. Say you have Bo Nix as your (fourth-ranked QB) behind Maye, but it's not all that different, the grade. Maybe you trade back and take your tackle. You've moved back to the No. 7 or No. 9 pick.

"And then you package whatever picks you picked up in that trade, and maybe you also have to use your second-rounder, and you move back into the first round. And then at No. 25 overall, you end up taking Bo Nix. Now you've got your tackle and quarterback, and it's a deep wide receiver class. You're off and running. Those, to me, are viable scenarios, but you've got to be aggressive and creative.

"And you've got first-time guys leading your front office, and it's multiple guys, so that could make it tougher, too. Now we have to have a conversation everytime we want to move. Whereas if you have a set GM, that guy can work the phone lines and move around the board. He has the freedom to do what he wants."

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, judging by his latest top 50 prospect ranking, agrees with Perry's take on there being lots of good quarterbacks, offensive tackles and wide receivers in this class. Fourteen of the top 18 prospects in Jeremiah's ranking play one of those three positions, and that doesn't include Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, who has plenty of wide receiver skills.

Coming out of this draft with multiple quality starters won't be an easy process, but it's very doable for the Patriots considering the abundance of offensive talent in the 2024 class. In that regard, they are very lucky to have two picks in the top 34.

Phil Perry weighs in on why he wouldn't trade up for the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft if he were the Patriots - who currently sit with the number three pick.
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