Penn State tackle Caedan Wallace was one of two offensive lineman chosen in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Matt Freed/Associated Press

Eliot Wolf wasn’t kidding.

On Thursday night, the de facto general manager for the New England Patriots was asked what the organization needed to do to support rookie quarterback Drake Maye.

“I just think we need to support him any way we can – on the field, off the field,” Wolf said on Thursday night. “We need to add some weapons to the offense. We need to shore up the offensive line. We have good players already at those positions, but really just increasing the depth and competition.”

Since then, the Patriots have done just that. Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft was just another example.

On Friday night, the team drafted wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk in Round 2 and then offensive tackle Caedan Wallace in Round 3. On Saturday afternoon, the Patriots spent their two fourth-round picks on guard Layden Anderson and wide receiver Javon Baker.

For the Patriots, it’s a mission accomplished.


Last season, the Patriots finished with one of the worst offenses in the NFL. After drafting Maye at No. 3, Wolf did exactly as he said: He added more depth and competition to important areas of need on his offense. After saying at the NFL Combine he wanted to “weaponize” the offense, Wolf wasn’t able to bring in veteran receiver Calvin Ridley.

Instead, he spent two premium draft picks on receivers with upside and different skill sets.

Polk is a 6-foot-1 versatile receiver who can line up both inside and outside the numbers. He has reliable hands and excels with contested catches. Last year, he caught 69 passes for 1,159 yards with nine touchdowns. The Patriots viewed him as a good football player and became enamored with him throughout the predraft process. They see him as a reliable pass-catching target, which every young quarterback needs.

With Baker, the Patriots landed a 6-foot-1 outside receiver. Last year, he finished with 52 receptions, 1,139 yards and seven touchdowns. Baker excels on deep passes and with yards after the catch. He finished No. 2 in the country in yards per catch (21.9). That fits another immediate need for the Patriots and gives the offense more competition at the receiver position.

Bringing in Polk and Baker in the same draft class as Maye is smart. It allows the young quarterback to bond and grow with his fellow teammates. Their addition could also mean that the Patriots will move on from a veteran receiver or two.

The two rookie receivers will compete with Kendrick Bourne, K.J. Osborn, Demario ‘Pop’ Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, Jalen Reagor, Kawaan Baker, and T.J. Luther. That’s a lot of bodies, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots release or trade someone like Smith-Schuster or Thornton.


As important as it was for Wolf to get reinforcements at wide receiver, he also had to add to the offensive line. The Patriots’ third-round pick, Wallace, is an athletic prospect who could move to left tackle. In Round 4, they improved their depth at guard by drafting Robinson.

Last spring, it was stunning when the Patriots drafted three defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That left the Patriots with major depth issues on offense.

This time? Wolf’s tried to rectify the problem.

AT 6-FOOT-5 and 246 pounds, Joe Milton III had the biggest frame of any quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft class.

Milton has 33-and-3/8 inch arms, an 80-inch wingspan, and can absolutely launch the football. The Patriots picked the Tennessee quarterback in the sixth round, and in an introductory conference call with the New England media, Milton said he’d recently been studying tape of a fellow quarterback.

“Brock Purdy,” Milton said.


Four inches shorter and more than 25 pounds lighter, Purdy couldn’t be built much differently than Milton. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback remains polarizing – he’s yet to garner the universal acclaim of a Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow – but Milton likes Purdy’s tape for a very specific reason.

“Brock Purdy is good with his feet,” Milton explained. “Every step he takes, he’s going somewhere. I try to implement that into my game just because you don’t want to make false movements. So that’s something I worked over in the pre-draft process with (quarterback coach) Jordan Palmer. I’ve just been at it every day trying to make sure I maintain that process of eliminating steps and making sure every step I take I’m going somewhere and I’m balanced.”

Milton was a fascinating selection for the Patriots in the sixth round, as he’ll join No. 3 overall pick Drake Maye as rookies on the quarterback depth chart. Milton will need to clean up a number of things to stick around in the league – there’s a reason someone with his physical tools fell to the sixth round – but he’s eager to attack those and compete in Foxborough.

“No matter what quarterback got selected in this draft, no matter where you go, you’re going to have to compete,” Milton said. “Nothing is just given to you no matter who you are. So no matter where you go, you’re just going to have to compete. So that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

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