AFC East Draft Preview - The likely pick and the "Whoa!" pick for each team

As the NFL, and the dozens of college athletes who will become rookies in 2024, prepare to descend on Detroit for the NFL draft, starting April 27th, I will take a look at each team’s draft needs, predict who they should take in the first round, and predict a potential trade that could shake up the draft and give each team an advantage at a position of need.

2024 NFL Draft - Starting April 27th, 2024, in Detroit, Michigan
2024 NFL Draft - Starting April 27th, 2024, in Detroit, Michigan / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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Today’s article focuses on the AFC where the Buffalo Bills, three-time division defending division champions will try to improve their team against a backdrop of an imposing salary cap challenge, aging veterans at key positions, and a fear that their championship window may be closed.  Can the Dolphins, Jets, or Patriots catch them?  Only time will tell but each team will need to make an impactful pick in the first round if they hope to dethrone the champions of the AFC East.

New England Patriots - Pick 3 - Areas of Need - Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Tight End

Best pick at 3 – Jayden Daniels – Quarterback - LSU

The Patriots' first pick will be largely dependent on what happens before they pick at picks 1 and 2. Both the Bears and Redskins are expected to pick QBs with the first two picks of the draft and assuming the Redskins pick Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels would be the best pick for the new head coach Jared Mayo and the de facto general manager, director of scouting, Elliot Wolf.

Marvin Harrison could be a wild card here and may be the best player in the draft at a position of need.  But the Patriots have lived the first years of post-Tom Brady era without a franchise quarterback and have failed drastically.

The Patriots locker room believe in Jared Mayo, but he's here because it was in his contract that he would replace Bill Belichick. If he wants to win over management and the Patriots' fans, Mayo likely has to win a lot, and soon, to keep his job a fraction of the time his predecessor did.  Daniels has all of the tools of an elite QB in today’s NFL and is too good to pass up for a team that needs its franchise QB of the future.

Shake it up pick – Trade to 7 or 10 to pick Brock Bowers - Tight End – Georgia

In what would be a risky move for new Elliot Wolf, and the future of Jared Mayo, the Patriots could trade the number 3 pick to a team that likely would target Daniels, or maybe Harrison.  The most likely trade partners in need of a QB are the Titans at seven, and the Vikings at ten. A trade would either team would likely net the Patriots a first round pick next year and a third or fourth round pick in the 2024 draft.

At seven, or ten, New England could likely gain a potential star in Georgia tight end Brock Bowers and build their draft war chest at the same time. Bowers is thought of as a future star in the NFL and the Patriots have had success leveraging great tight ends to win; and win big. If Bowers is taken in front of them, the Patriots would still have a plethora of picks at positions of need, which could include quarterbacks JJ McCarthy, or Bo Nix, as well as the additional trade capital.