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MORSE: Patriots Mock Draft #2 – Post College All-Star Games

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
February 8, 2024 at 5:00 am ET

MORSE: Patriots Mock Draft #2 – Post College All-Star Games(PHOTO: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 9 minutes

When asked whether or not PFF’s Mock Drafts are accurate or not, this was the answer I received.  While PFF’s mock drafts provide valuable insights, their accuracy varies. No mock draft can perfectly predict the real draft outcomes. However, PFF’s analysts use their expertise to make informed choices based on available data.

In summary, PFF’s mock drafts serve as engaging tools for fans and analysts, but they should be taken with a grain of salt. The actual draft day surprises often defy even the most well-researched predictions!

Free Agency

You can’t do a Mock Draft without first establishing who you have signed from Free Agency to fill holes on your roster.  These are my Free Agency signings.

Xavier McKinney FS – The Patriots defense was good but not great because they had a gaping hole in their secondary at Free Safety.  Bill Belichick did nothing to fill the departing Devin McCourty’s spot and it burnt them on multiple occasions this past season.  Kyle Dugger and Jalen Mills were no answer.  Spotrac has McKinney Market Value at 5-years $10.5M Annual Average Salary (AAV).  McKinney is ranked 4th among all Safeties by PFF.

Michael Onwenu RT – Make him a 5 year offer around the $15M AAV area.  If he doesn’t accept the offer, then Franchise tag him at the $18.5M number and draft a RT that can eventually replace him in 2025.  Right now, you have nothing to fill that hole in your offense.  Onwenu is ranked 29th among all Tackles in the league.  That’s far away from the $18.5M franchise tag number and more in line with the $15M AAV.  Spotrac estimates that Onwenu’s Market Value is more like 5 years $13.5 AAV.

Hunter Henry TE  The Patriots have just one TE signed (LaMichael Pettway) Spotrac doesn’t see much of a market for Henry and thinks a 1year $7.5M AAV contract will get Henry (age 29).  PFF ranks Henry 19th among NFL TEs.

Kendrick Bourne WR Bourne was the best receiver on the team until his knee injury ended his season.  I would like to see him resigned.  Spotrac has Market value at 3-years $14.65M, $3.8M AAV.  I would like to see him signed to just a one-year contract at even less money.

Jacoby Brissett QB Michael Holley and Greg Bedard were all for signing Brissett (much to the chagrin of Mike Felger) as a stop gap QB until whoever the Patriots draft at QB is ready.  He made $8M last season and 3-year $22.5M with incentives as a starter should get it done.  New Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt has coached Brissett in Cleveland and he can run his new Offense.

Anfernee Jennings ED  Jennings filled in very well for Matt Judon and established himself as a strong edge defender against the run.   However, he lacks pass rush ability and will be taken out on pass rush downs.  A three-year $2M AAV contract should get him back in the fold.  He finished with 63 tackles in 15 games and 1.5 sacks.  Jennings will turn 27 before the start of the season.

Andrew Van Ginkel ED He is exactly what Jennings isn’t.  Van Ginkel filled in very well for Jaelen Phillips who went down early in the season.   He made $2.65M on a 1- year contract last year.  A 3- year $15M, $5M AAV contract could get it done.  Van Ginkel is a 5-year vet and had 69 tackles and 6 sacks in 17 games.  Van Ginkel will be 29 at the start of next season.

Michael Pittman WR (could be Franchise Tagged by Indianapolis) 4-years $90.7M $22.7M AAV and turns 27 during the 2024 season.  PFF rank #27 Wide Receiver.

Depending upon the availability to sign Pittman, that would be between $51.3M and $74M of the $80M cap room they would have available once they release JC Jackson.


JC Jackson  $13M savings off the cap

Juju Smith-Schuster – a post June 1st cut will save them about $1M against the cap.

DaVante Parker -0- cap Savings – 4 years in a row he was the worst receiver in the league to get separation from the DB.  He is deadwood that is occupying a roster spot.

Mock Draft #2 Post All-Star Games

Now that we have the Free Agents filled, we can set a draft board accordingly.

It is becoming obviously clear that Eliot Wolf is driving the train in Foxboro right now with the additions of Alex Van Pelt, Ben McAdoo, Jerry Montgomery and now TE coach TC McCartney.  All have Green Bay ties to Eliot.  If Eliot is in fact driving the bus for the coaching staff and the draft, then it is more likely the Patriots will select an Offensive Lineman first.  As a counter to that, McAdoo is an excellent QB evaluator, Van Pelt has been a long time QB coach and McCartney was brought in to be a QB coach.

#3 TRADE: NE Trades #6 to ATL for picks Rd 1 Pick 8, Rd 2 Pick 43, Rd 3 Pick 74, and 2025 Rd 1 Pick.  ATL must have wanted a QB very badly to pay that price.

#8 Olumuyiwa Fashanu OT Penn State – Fashanu did not allow a sack in his 21 games started at Penn State.  He was two time Academic All-Big 10, 1st Team All-Big 10 in 2023 and 3rd Team in 2022.  The beast was #23 on Bruce Feldman’s Freak List of all college players in 2023.  This is what Feldman had to say about the 6’6”, 319 lb behemoth; “… running a 4.97 40 this offseason and had a 4.63 short shuttle time.  That 40 time would have tied for the best at the NFL Combine among all offensive linemen there.  Fashanu, who attributes his agility to all the time he spent playing basketball growing up, also bench-pressed 405 pounds, squatted 605 and power-cleaned 350 clean.”  Fashanu is just 20 and will be 21 for a majority of his rookie year.    Here are his attributes:

  • Tall, strong, and sturdy frame
  • Excellent foot speed and short-area athleticism
  • Stifling play strength
  • Elite power capacity
  • Well-balanced and well-leveraged in pass protection
  • Quick and controlled feet
  • Alert and unbothered blocker
  • Polished like a blue-chip NFL prospect

He is like 1B, not as highly rated as 1A Joe Alt.  I insist that the way to fix this team in the short term is to fix the Offensive Line first and then add the skill positions later.  You can be very competitive with a veteran QB (Jacoby Brissett) who has played in the Alex Van Pelt offensive scheme.  Bring a rookie QB along slowly and let him sit and learn for a couple of years.

#34 TRADE: NE trades #34 and #139 to LV for #44 and #77 – This is a trade down to gain a better draft position rather than extra draft picks.   There was no one that I was enthralled within those 10 picks so I traded down.

#43 Xavier Legette WR South Carolina – The 6’1”, 223 lb, receiver runs an estimated 4.29 40-yard dash.   What bothers me about Legette is that he is a one-year wonder.  He didn’t do much until his senior season with Spencer Rattler at QB.  He had a monster year with 71 catches for 1255 yards and 7 TDs.  Respected NFL Analyst Louis Riddick had this to say about Legette after a mediocre Day 1 practice at the Senior Bowl “WR Xavier Legette had a VERY strong day 2. Inside. Outside, short/intermediate/deep, contested catches, run after catch…he can do all of it at a high level.”  With his size and speed, he should be a legitimate outside threat.

#44 Christian Haynes OG Connecticut – The PFF Mock Simulator didn’t like this move.  Who cares!  My eyes told me that Haynes dominated the Line of Scrimmage at the Senior Bowl against some very good competition.  The key for me was that Haynes played Center at the Senior Bowl and did very well.  He is being drafted to provide competition for Sidy Sow and back up both Guard positions.  I see him eventually replacing David Andrews, who probably has just one year left.

#47 Roman Wilson WR Michigan – The Mock Draft Simulator didn’t like this pick either, probably because it was a reach.  The 5’10” 182 lb., receiver has an estimated 4.37 40-yard dash.  The wideout was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl practices.  He couldn’t be covered by any of the DBs.  He also showed good awareness of where he was on the field and made difficult catches.  He can play out wide or in the slot.  His route running was superb, and he set up the DBs nicely and used his superior quickness to get off press coverage.  I can’t wait to see his 3-cone time at the combine, which should be well under 7.00.  There is a report that “Wilson clocked a 4.33 40-yard dash out of a two-point stance; then ran a sizzling 6.20 3-cone drill – NFL Draft Buzz”.  If he runs those times at the NFL combine, he will be drafted in this area of the 2nd round and not the 3rd round as the PFF Simulator has him ranked.

#68 Spencer Rattler QB South Carolina – Spencer Rattler has faced adversity and overcome it.  The 2023 season for South Carolina featured severe offensive line problems.  They had 12 O-lineman miss time, including several for the season and that was just through October.  This was the reason they didn’t have a good season.  However, Rattler willed them to a 5-7 record, barely missing the post-season bowl game.  He had 3,186 yards passing and a 16 – 8 TD to INT ratio and a 68.9 completion percentage.

Rattlers College Stats

Year School Class G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int
*2019 Oklahoma FR 3 7 11 63.6 81 1 0
*2020 Oklahoma FR 11 214 317 67.5 3031 28 7
*2021 Oklahoma SO 9 140 187 74.9 1483 11 5
*2022 South Carolina JR 13 264 399 66.2 3026 18 12
2023 South Carolina SR 12 275 399 68.9 3186 19 8
Career Overall 900 1313 68.5 10807 77 32
* includes post season games


Rattler was a two-year captain.  Another area where he handled adversity very well was when he was benched at Oklahoma.  He replaced by Caleb Williams (yes that Caleb Williams).  As result he decided to transfer to South Carolina where he shined.

A hugely experienced prospect, with over 1,300 passes attempted in four years as a starter – has successfully dealt with adversity and challenges throughout his college career.

This is the write up on Rattler from NFL Draft Buzz:

“Has excellent overall arm strength you would expect a consensus five-star prospect

Is excellent when on the move and has the arm talent to make throws most college-level QBs wouldn’t even attempt

Despite being viewed as a mobile quarterback Rattler is skilled as a pocket passer and has a nice feel for pressure

Sprays the ball anywhere on the field, especially when given a pocket from which to deliver. Will step up into pocket while looking downfield, reset his feet and deliver.

Ball placement is a strength. Rattler has the natural instincts to make plays when forced to improvise.

Generally accurate on intermediate and short throws; flashes anticipation and placement on intermediate outs and shows the ability to lead receivers on deeper throws.

Good zip and ball placement on the quick slant. Good touch down the seam and on post-corner, flag routes to attack the defense vertically and horizontally.

He’s a pure athlete, loose-limbed and flexible. Rattler has the speed to pick up yardage in scramble situations

A standout natural athlete, Spencer Rattler showcases impeccable balance, light-footed mobility, and an innate ability to float seamlessly within the pocket, eluding defenders.

Rattler’s versatility is evident as he is both a proficient pocket passer and equally effective on the move, consistently keeping his eyes downfield and sensing impending pressure.

In the realm of short to intermediate throws, Rattler excels, exhibiting an anticipation that allows him to lead receivers effectively, setting them up for optimal yards after the catch.

One of his standout traits is a rapid release, coupled with the capability to throw from a variety of arm angles, making him a multifaceted and unpredictable threat.

Even in off-balance situations or while on the move, Rattler’s throws are marked by impressive velocity and pinpoint accuracy, testament to his exceptional arm talent.”


#77 Sione Vaki S Utah – Vaki is 6’ 208 lbs with an estimated 4.50 40-yard dash.  NFL Draft Scout had this to say about him, “Sione Vaki is a versatile chess piece who can contribute on offense, defense, and special teams but likely won’t be an impact player in any phase of the game.”


  • Speed
  • Toughness
  • Versatility

Vaki only played a few games at running back but his tape was quite impressive. He displayed above-average vision as a runner and had the straight-line speed to stick his foot in the ground and explode through the hole. He runs strong and displays very good contact balance. He is an outstanding receiver out of the backfield, displaying soft hands and run-after-catch ability as well.

Overall, if I were drafting Vaki purely as a defensive back, he would be a late-day-three/PUDFA grade. With that said, I actually like his skill set as a third-down back and think he could be a core special teams player. Because of that, I think he’s worth a flier in the fifth or sixth round.

After a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, PFF’s Trevor Sikkema went so far as to say “Vaki might be the most interesting player in the 2024 NFL Draft Class. His versatility is quite alluring.”

Could he be a replacement for Matthew Slater on Special Teams and have the versatility to play two other positions?

#103 TRADE NE trades #103 and #182 to CHI for #114 and #116 – Another trade to improve draft position rather than to gain additional draft picks.

#114 Blake Fisher OT Notre Dame – The true Junior stands 6’6”, 310 lbs and runs an estimated 5.35 40-yard dash.  The Right Tackle has played over 700 snaps the last two seasons.  He was named the starter as a true freshman but injured his knee after the second game and missed the remainder of the season. He will be groomed to take Michael Onwenu place after a season of coaching.

#116 Cam Hart DB Notre Dame – the 6’2”, 204 lb corner runs an estimated 4.45 40-yard dash.  When you play against the best available athletes in the Senior Bowl, your skills, instincts, and techniques come through. Hart made the Bruce Feldman Freak List at #32.  In his three years as a starter at Notre Dame he had a very low QB Completion rating when targeting Hart.  Bruce Feldman had this to say about Hart, “The 6-2 1/2, 205-pounder from Maryland has remarkable tools, broad-jumping 11-2, vertical-jumping 38 inches and hitting 21.7 mph on the GPS. His power-clean peak output (2490) is also one of the best on the team.”

#224 Jared Wiley TE TCU The big TE stands 6’6”, 252 lbs., and runs an estimated 4.8 40-yard dash.  That speed is a little slow.  He doesn’t have a high blocking grade and didn’t really blossom until his 5th year season after transferring from Texas to TCU.  He had 47 catches for 520 yards for an average of 11.1 yards per catch, and 8 TDs.  The offense that Alex Van Pelt wants to run requires multiple TEs.  The Patriots have just one player on contract and that is former Practice Squad and USFL Birmingham Stallions TE La’Michael Pettaway.

#232 Brevyn Spann-Ford TE Minesota – The Patriots double down late on TEs.  Spann-Ford is another big-bodied TE at 6’6”, 272 lbs., and runs an estimated 4.72 40-yard dash.  He has over 25 starts in the Big 10.  In 2021 he had 23 catches for 296 yards and in 2022 he played 12 games and had 40 catches for 481 yards for an average of 12.0 yards per catch, 2 TDs.  As a 5th year senior, he dropped to 25 catches for 239 yards and 2 TDs. Spann-Ford was a three-year starter for the Golden Gophers.  In the Senior Bowl game itself. Spann-Ford had a nice TD where he had to adjust back to a ball thrown behind him.

UDFA Will Reichard K Alabama is the most polished Kicker available, but I wouldn’t use a draft pick to secure his services.  He would be a priority Free Agent in my opinion.

Wolf’s Ascension Hopefully Will Help Patriots Fix One Key Problem Moving Forward

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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