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Is New England Planning a Rebuild?

The New England Patriots have been in disarray over the last few seasons. The once-feared dynasty became a shell of its former self when Tom Brady decided to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the last four seasons without Brady, the team has only seen the playoffs once, and that was also the only time in the last four seasons the team had a winning record.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft decided to finally part ways with longtime head coach and general manager Bill Belichick. His departure signaled what many believed to be a team headed for a rebuild.

Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was promoted to be the new head coach of the team after serving on the team as the inside linebackers coach from the 2019 to 2023 seasons. While there is plenty of hope being placed on Mayo, this is his first shot at being a head coach, which is a big leap considering he has not held a defensive or offensive coordinator position in the NFL.

Still, the Patriots organization could be on its way to a rebuild, especially after recent comments from their director of scouting, Eliot Wolf. Wolf spoke to ESPN about the draft plans the team has, especially surrounding the No. 3 overall pick. The consensus has been they would select a quarterback like UNC’s Drake Maye, but Wolf let it be known they were also having “ongoing” discussions about trading down.

New Enmgland Patriots scout Eliot Wolf
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – FEBRUARY 27: Director of scouting Eliot Wolf of the New England Patriots speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 27, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana….


Stacy Revere/Getty Images

“We have some holes we feel like we need to fill in the draft. We’re a draft-and-develop team; the more picks we have, the better,” Wolf told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

One would argue the Patriots have a wealth of holes to fill on their roster. For starters, they don’t possess a franchise quarterback. They did sign veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, but he is likely to serve as the veteran role model for whatever young quarterback the team would take in the draft.

The other issue is the Patriots have a wide receiver room that is severely lacking. No player in the wide receiver room eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2023, and DeMario Douglas barely surpassed 500 with a total of 561 yards. The offensive output for the team needs a steep overhaul.

Wolf indicating that the Patriots would be open to trading down to stack on more draft capital makes a ton of sense, and wouldn’t be the worst move they could make. A lot of help is needed, and with the multitude of quarterback-hungry teams wanting to trade up, New England could find themselves with several first-round picks.

Still, the smartest move would be to take Maye and allow him to develop. The Patriots might still trade down in the second or third round, allowing more young talent to be acquired, but trading down in the first round would be disastrous for the team’s offensive plans. This is especially true given their chance to draft Maye or even LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

Whether the Commanders take Maye or Daniels, the Patriots would have their shot at drafting their presumed next franchise quarterback. Should they trade down from No. 3 overall, it would signal that Kraft is fine with the team engaging in a full rebuild.