Perry’s 2024 Mock Draft 4.0: Patriots trade down for ‘Packer Way’ pick

Perry’s 2024 Mock Draft 4.0: Patriots trade down for ‘Packer Way’ pick originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

We’ve been open and honest with how we’re handling our mock drafts this year. What we’re not doing is telling you what we think we’ll happen. If we were, we’d be constantly bouncing back and forth between the Patriots taking either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels.

Instead, in the hopes of attacking a variety of different realistic options for you to chew on ahead of draft weekend, we’re mixing things up with each new mock.

In this week’s version, we’re going to approach it as though the Patriots simply are not sold on the quarterback who falls to them at No. 3 overall. If that’s the case, as I wrote earlier this week, I believe that at this point they would opt to trade down and build from there.

How might that look? For whom would the Patriots trade down? What could they pick up in terms of draft capital on their way down the board? Let’s find out…

Let’s write this one in ink. The most talented quarterback in the draft is headed to Chicago.

If the name of the game is explosive playmaking ability, the quarterback with 90 plays of 20 yards or more last season should be on his way to Washington.

TRADE: New England Patriots and New York Giants

  • Giants receive: No. 3 pick

  • Patriots receive: No. 6 pick, No. 70 pick and Giants’ 2025 first-round pick

3. New York Giants (via Patriots): Drake Maye, QB, UNC

First, let’s discuss the trade itself. This would make sense for the Patriots — again, if they aren’t sold on Maye, who they quite enjoyed meeting at this year’s combine — in that moving down just three spots keeps them in the mix for one of the best receivers or tackles in this year’s draft class.

The return adds up, per the old Jimmy Johnson trade chart, and it not only gives the Patriots a future first-rounder — to attack a quarterback in the 2025 draft, perhaps — but it also gives them a little more ammo in the form of a third-rounder this year.

For the Giants, it makes sense that they’d be aggressive here. How much longer is ownership going to roll with this regime as they toil with a middling (or worse) quarterback and a less-than-inspired on-the-field product?

Maye looks like he could be a classic boom-or-bust evaluation. But the boom would provide such a payoff that New York very well may be willing to welcome the risk that things go in the opposite direction for the Tar Heel.

  • Vikings receive: No. 4 pick

  • Cardinals receive: No. 11 pick, No. 109 pick, No. 156 pick and Vikings’ 2025 first-round pick

4. Minnesota Vikings: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Hungry for a quarterback to lead them through the post-Kirk Cousins Era, the Vikings trade a haul to get a bit of an unknown at the quarterback position who they believe can be a franchise passer. The Cardinals continue to stockpile picks under general manager Monti Ossenfort.

Justin Herbert‘s dream come true. Yes, the Chargers just drafted a boundary receiver in the first round last year. But Quentin Johnston isn’t Marvin Harrison Jr.

This pick also sets up a fascinating marriage between a Buckeye and a Michigan Man in Jim Harbaugh, who threw to Harrison Jr.’s dad Marvin during Marvin’s first two seasons as a pro with the Colts.

6. New England Patriots (via Giants): Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

If the Patriots aren’t going to take a quarterback at No. 3, it’s time for them to do “The Packer Way” thing and take the best player available. That’s Alt, particularly when considering what Eliot Wolf might want at this point in the first round.

First, there’s his size. He has a mammoth frame at 6-foot-9, 321 pounds with over 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands. But even more importantly, perhaps, is that he can really move for a human being his size.

Eliot Wolf’s father, Packers Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf, liked athletes in the trenches, and the general managers who worked under him — Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst, John Dorsey, John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie, Scot McCloughan — have carried that approach with them wherever they’ve gone. Agility times have seemed to matter for their pass protectors, and Alt provides the rare combination of size and quickness that some of the Wolf tree’s most-highly drafted tackles also exhibited.

Some of Alt’s best comps from a physical standpoint include former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher (drafted by Dorsey in 2013), first-rounder Kolton Miller (drafted by McKenzie in 2018) and second-rounder Jason Spriggs (drafted by Thompson in 2016).

By trading down and nabbing Alt, the Patriots ensure themselves a blue-chipper at a premium position to help whichever quarterback is behind center in 2024 and beyond. A receiver here would make less sense for Wolf given that Green Bay hasn’t taken a first-round wideout since 2002 (Javon Walker).

The second round is where some of the best Packers receivers in recent memory — Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings — have been found.

Spoiler alert: The Patriots will go in that direction in this mock at No. 34 overall.

In this scenario, the Patriots had to leapfrog Tennessee to ensure that they’d land Alt. Still on the hunt for a tackle, the Titans take the guy with the highest upside still on the board.

Atlanta has enough in the way of big bodies to catch the football. What they need is some real juice. Nabers gives them that in spades.

9. Chicago Bears: Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Caleb Williams should be a happy man after seeing this pick fly off the board. Odunze’s strength and football IQ should make him an impact player right away for the Bears.

10. New York Jets: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

The Jets remain in dire need of tackle help. Fuaga may be more of a right tackle than left, but he has the potential to turn into a franchise cornerstone at one of the game’s most important positions.

11. Arizona Cardinals (via Vikings): Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Any chance the Cardinals would be interested in running some two-tight end sets? Their offense is rooted in what Kevin Stefanski trotted out in Cleveland, which often relied on heavier personnel groupings. Bowers is the best weapon on the board here after Arizona’s trade down.

This may be way too high for Nix, who hasn’t exactly blown people away with his pre-draft performance to this point. But he has some similarities from a playing-style standpoint to Drew Brees. And if anyone would fall for a Brees type, it’d be Brees’ former head coach, Sean Payton, who’s now running the show in Denver.

If Vegas wants to build a bully under Antonio Pierce, there are few better ways to do it than grabbing the behemoth Latham.

Under Mickey Loomis, the Saints have had no issues chasing pass-rushers early in the draft. Verse is a big-time athlete with positional versatility who already looks like he’s ready to jar pro lineman with his power.

15. Indianapolis Colts: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Could Quinyon Mitchell end up being the top corner off the board? Maybe. But Arnold has an impressive track record against high-end talent in the SEC, and the Colts couldn’t be faulted for pulling the trigger on him here.

How Latu tests may impact his standing in the first round. But he is a first-round talent. And the Seahawks could, with Latu’s addition, have a perfect fit for new head coach Mike Macdonald’s defense.

Hard to impress folks more than Mitchell did at this year’s Senior Bowl. After playing a lower level of competition in the regular season, he was clearly prepared to take on — and shut down — better talent down in Mobile, Ala.

No better way to protect the crown jewel of your franchise, Joe Burrow, than by giving him a massive tackle. Mims has started just eight games in three years but has coveted traits at a position where it’s hard to find the physical traits to thrive there.

Another Senior Bowl winner, Guyton could get out to Los Angeles and chip in to Sean McVay’s offense immediately.

Mike Tomlin needs corners. DeJean went into the draft process with an injury, but he has some serious physical gifts that could make him a steal at this point in the draft.

21. Miami Dolphins: Troy Fautanu, OL, Washington

Linemen are flying off the board. The Dolphins — yet again — need real help on the offensive line. Fautanu can play guard or tackle and play at a starting-caliber level in short order.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Jackson Powers-Johnson, OL, Oregon

An interior lineman with an NFL-ready mind and the versatility to play guard or center, Powers-Johnson will help reshuffle the line in Philly in the wake of Jason Kelce‘s retirement.

If the Texans want a ready-made replacement for Sheldon Rankins, Murphy would make plenty of sense. He had 45 total pressures on 273 pass-rushing snaps, per Pro Football Focus.

Zack Martin remains one of the best linemen in the game, but he isn’t getting any younger, and Barton is one of the top interior offensive line prospects in this year’s class.

25. Green Bay Packers: Ennis Rakestraw, CB, Missouri

Green Bay could use a third corner with good quickness and a willingness to tackle to play in the slot. Rakestraw has all of those qualities and would give new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley a versatile piece with whom to play.

Mike Evans just agreed to a two-year deal to stay in Tampa, but the Bucs still need a future replacement for him. Thomas is a boundary threat with real juice.

27. Arizona Cardinals (via Houston Texans): Adonai Mitchell, WR, Texas

Mitchell was one of the biggest winners of this year’s combine, running a blazing 4.34-second 40-yard dash. Adding Bowers and Mitchell to Kyler Murray‘s arsenal of weapons could get the best out of the young quarterback in short order.

28. Buffalo Bills: Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

With speed for days, Franklin would give the Bills another weapon for Josh Allen. With Stefon Diggs seemingly waffling on his future in Buffalo on a regular basis these days, investing in pass-catchers isn’t a bad idea for coach Sean McDermott.

Wiggins may be too good to last this long given his length (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) and his speed. But if he does, the Lions should pounce.

The Ravens have shown a willingness to invest in freak athletes from Penn State to play off the edge before. They took Odafe Oweh in the first round back in 2021. They do it again here by grabbing an intriguing physical talent with a fantastic name.

The Niners could be looking for receiver help soon if they can’t figure out a way to keep all their pass-catchers happy. And McConkey can do a little bit of everything. Will he be the blocker on the outside they typically like? Maybe not. But he has enough in the way of route-running chops and pure speed to be worthy of this selection.

Any doubt the Chiefs will be interested in an undersized wideout who just broke the record for the 40-yard dash in Indy? And he wasn’t just a one-even marvel at the combine. Worthy was one of the freakier athletes to perform throughout the week. Andy Reid will certainly figure out a way to get the most out of him.


33. Carolina Panthers: Patrick Paul, OT, Houston

Long, athletic and a little raw, Paul could end up being a star with a little more time. The Panthers need that kind of ceiling along the offensive line as they figure out ways to protect their diminutive young quarterback.

34. New England Patriots: Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

It might be a little strong to compare another second-round receiver out of the SEC to A.J. Brown. But can you blame us for wondering if Legette can have a similar trajectory as a pro?

Legette is about the same size at 6-foot-1, 221 pounds. And he performed slightly better at the combine in the 40-yard dash (4.39 seconds), broad jump (10-foot-6) and vertical (40 inches).

Even if the Patriots didn’t come away with a quarterback after making their first two selections, they’ve added two players who look like they’ll make the life of the next young passer in New England much easier. Whenever that is.

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