The Patriots are in uncharted territory, and New England fans are stuck after Week 10 thinking about what the franchise will do in the NFL draft.
New England’s 2-8 record after last Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany made it the worst team in the AFC. If the season ended after Week 10, the Patriots would have the third pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which would put them in contention to draft either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
However, a top-two pick is more desirable since a team like the Chicago Bears, who would end up with the No. 1 pick if the season ended after Week 10, could acquire picks for the selection. That’s what they did last season with the Carolina Panthers, who wouldn’t get the top overall pick because of that draft-day trade.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell on Thursday looked at every team that has a chance to earn the No. 1 pick or a two-two pick. The Patriots had a 5.2% chance to earn the top pick, which was the fourth-best chance, and a 15.3% of landing a top-two selection.
Barnwell found it hard to believe New England would get the No. 1 pick because of how bad the Bears, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants are — the Patriots play the Giants in Week 12. He also pointed out how Bill Belichick isn’t openly tanking and how New England is just flat-out bad. However, if Belichick sticks around next season, it would be interesting to see what he would do with a top-two pick.
“Belichick would have the ultimate chance to trade down and amass a franchise-altering amount of draft capital, but let’s be real: The Patriots would take a quarterback,” Barnwell wrote. “(Mac) Jones’ collapse over the past two seasons has altered his trajectory, and New England will almost certainly decline his fifth-year option after the season, barring a stunning turnaround over the next seven games. This team needs to start over with one of the quarterbacks at the top of this class.”
Justin FieldsCHI – QB
It’s hard to believe fans would be ecstatic if the Patriots received a haul from trading out of the top two, but New England might feel the need to recover assets if it trades for Mike Vrabel to replace Belichick. The possibility of a trade is there, and the Bears serve as confirmation bias that there’s a chance the top quarterback isn’t great from the jump and the team is back at the bottom.
Multiple changes are in order for the Patriots, and it feels like anything is possible. There definitely will be a portion of the fan base who hope New England continues to bottom out so that a full rebuild can truly be on the table.