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Home Sports Patriots address huge weakness in way-too-early 2024 NFL Mock Draft

Patriots address huge weakness in way-too-early 2024 NFL Mock Draft

by nytime
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Patriots address huge weakness in way-too-early 2024 NFL Mock Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

College football begins this weekend with Week 0, and some of the players who could get picked in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft will be playing.

Next year’s draft might seem like a long ways away, and it is, but it’s also never too early for teams to start scouting players.

ESPN draft expert Matt Miller released his preseason 2024 NFL Mock Draft earlier this week, and he projects the New England Patriots will address a glaring roster weakness in the first round.

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The pick? University of Houston offensive tackle Patrick Paul at No. 12 overall.

“The Patriots have taken a Band-Aid approach at offensive tackle in recent seasons, but considering how great the 2024 class appears, that should come to an end,” Miller wrote in his analysis. “Paul is an easy mover at left tackle despite a 6-7, 315-pound frame. He’s able to pull and work in the screen game, and he still has the strength to absorb bull rushers at the line of scrimmage.

“I see ideal length, power and agility for a modern left tackle, and while Paul is still an emerging player who must work on his pad height and body lean, his potential is fantastic and could be harnessed in New England as he becomes a fixture on the blindside. Paul gave up just one sack in 2022, and that pass-protecting skill set should help quarterback Mac Jones.”

Offensive tackle is one of the weakest position on the Patriots roster.

Trent Brown is the starting left tackle, and when he’s engaged and healthy, he has the ability to be a top 10 player at his position. He played all 17 games last season, but he played in just 14 the two previous seasons combined due to injuries. He’s also been limited at times in camp this summer. Brown’s future in New England is unknown, too, considering he will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Right tackle is even worse for the Patriots. There’s no long-term solution at the position. Sidy Sow and Conor McDermott have started there in the preseason. Riley Reiff could see snaps there as well. Michael Onwenu is better at guard, but could also play right tackle.

The Patriots could have selected a potential franchise tackle in the 2023 draft, but they upgraded another position of need by taking Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

At some point the Patriots will need to find their left tackle for the next decade. The 2024 draft should be a good place to acquire that player.

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