trade-up candidates

Five Potential Trade-Up Candidates for the Patriots

The general consensus amongst the NFL public is that with the third overall pick in the 2024 draft, the New England Patriots will be drafting a quarterback. However, not only do they need to upgrade that position badly, but the rest of their offense has still yet to make a huge leap. The Patriots have not had a game-changing wide receiver in years, a franchise blindside protector with the departure of Trent Brown, or even a true starting right guard since Michael Onwenu will mainly be a right tackle. If this team is going to get one of these top-flight quarterbacks with the third overall pick, they need to make sure that they do not waste his abilities or talents like Mac Jones was over the past few seasons. To do so, trading up in the first round has to be a strong possibility to gain additional assets. Looking at the best first-round prospects available, let’s see which players could be on the radar that could allow the Patriots to move up in the NFL draft.

Five Potential Trade-Up Candidates for the Patriots


1. Marvin Harrison Jr.: WR, Ohio State

There are a lot of rumors that say that the Arizona Cardinals could trade out of the fourth overall spot, so while plenty of teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos want to jump ahead to take a quarterback, the Patriots need to make an aggressive pitch themselves so that they could get the best wide receiver in the draft. Marvin Harrison Jr. earned his respect in 2022 when he posted over 1200 yards and fourteen touchdowns with CJ Stroud as his quarterback, but in 2023, he cemented himself as the number one college wideout after posting nearly the exact same statistics with Kyle McCord.

There is no doubt that Harrison Jr. is going to be an absolute stud in the NFL, just like his father was in Indianapolis for his entire career, before earning a spot in the Hall of Fame. It would be ironic if Harrison Jr. would be drafted by the Patriots since they have had a tense history with the Colts, but wide receiver has been a need for New England for years. If they are seriously considering making a move of this magnitude, now is the time.

2. Malik Nabers: WR, LSU

Say that Marvin Harrison Jr. is off the board or that the Patriots are not interested in him. Who is the next best receiver prospect available? That would happen to be the stud out of LSU Malik Nabers. Not only is he one of the fastest wide receivers coming out of the draft, but he is an extremely crafty route-runner who can easily win his matchups in just one step because of his unbelievable burst. What makes it scarier is that he is only twenty years old, and whoever is fortunate to draft Nabers in the first round is going to be able to have him as a focal point of their offense for so many years.

He is coming off his best year at LSU, finishing the 2023 season with close to 1,600 receiving yards and fourteen touchdown receptions, which allowed him to complete his college career with 3,000 total yards. It would be completely laughable if the Patriots traded up for this draft and did NOT take a wide receiver that could completely transform their entire offense, so if the opportunity presents itself with a team willing to make a deal, New England needs to pounce on it quickly before anybody else beats them to the punch.

3. Dallas Turner: DE, Alabama

If there was one thing that everybody observed about the Patriots’ defense last year, it was that their pass rush was non-existent without Matt Judon for a majority of the season. One idea that general manager Eliot Wolf could explore is doing what Houston Texans GM Nick Caserio did last year: take a quarterback and then trade up for the best defensive player in the draft. Dallas Turner might not be the biggest need for the Patriots right now, but a defensive end will be in the near future. Deatrich Wise will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season, and even though they already drafted Keion White in the second round last year, it would not be completely blasphemous for New England to trade up in the top ten and solidify their defensive line for the foreseen future.

Turner had a productive three-year career with the Alabama Crimson Tide, totaling 32.5 tackles for loss and 22.5 sacks. While he might not force a lot of fumbles, he still ran a 4.46 at the 40-yard dash in the NFL combine, and he has proven to generate so much pressure and impact the game in different ways. It would be a promising look for the new Patriots regime to draft a quarterback at number three and then move up for Dallas Turner because while it might not vault New England into the playoffs, they will be a team to look out for in the next year or two if there are major signs of improvement. Just take a page out of the Nick Caserio book and all that there is left to do is see how everything plays out.

4. Joe Alt: T, Notre Dame

Trading up in the first round to take an offensive tackle will be more than unlikely for the Patriots, but based on the state of their offensive line, it would not be too outrageous for this team to move up so that they could get Joe Alt. He is easily the best tackle coming out of the draft based on his athleticism and size. He was the highest-graded offensive tackle according to Pro Football Focus, and some of his best comments included that he was “impressive in both zone and gap concepts in the run game and on true pass sets in the passing game.” With Trent Brown gone and Michael Onwenu switched over to right tackle, the Patriots still need to get their offensive line back in shape because it was a flat-out train wreck last year. Ever since Dante Scarnecchia retired, it has been one of the weakest units in the league, so drafting Joe Alt will be an absolute home run if they are in a position to take him. It is doubtful that this scenario becomes a reality, but it cannot be ruled out at the same time.

5. Brock Bowers: TE, Georgia

It is seriously doubtful that the Patriots are going to trade up in the NFL Draft to pick a tight end, but in the hypothetical situation that they switch spots with a team that wants to move out of the first round, it would not hurt to take Brock Bowers if he was still on the board. I get that New England extended Hunter Henry to a three-year deal and that they added additional depth in Austin Hooper, but neither of these players is getting any younger. Taking the best tight-end prospect in the draft could be more of a positive benefit than a negative. Bowers is a tremendous route-runner that rivals some of the best receivers in this draft, a capable run-blocker that could develop in time in the NFL, and he still posted over 700 yards and six touchdowns in just ten games played the year before. Some NFL scouts even compare him to Travis Kelce, one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, because of their similar skill sets and abilities on the football field. Again, the Patriots are unlikely going to trade up in the draft to select this player, but there is at least an outside chance that this scenario could realistically happen.

Main Image: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

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