Eliot Wolf and the New England Patriots were set to draft wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk with the No. 34 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

But based on the intel the Patriots received from around the league, Wolf and company felt the teams right behind them were not interested in the Washington Huskies product. It led to Wolf, who has had final say in the draft, to play the board a bit.

New England traded back three spots with the Los Angeles Chargers, who drafted Georgia receiver Ladd McConkey at No. 34. The Patriots then drafted Polk at No. 37 and turned their fifth-rounder into a fourth-rounder.

“We felt like Polk was the player that we were going to pick at 34, and felt based on the intel we got from other teams that we would be able to trade back a little bit and still get him,” Wolf said during a video conference Friday night.

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McConkey, a highly regarded receiver in his own right, was not going to be drafted by the Patriots, whether they were on the clock at No. 34 or No. 37.

Wolf said the Patriots had their eye on Polk throughout the pre-draft process. The de facto general manager said it helped that Polk’s wide receivers coach at Washington, Junior Adams, now is on Jerod Mayo’s staff in New England.

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Ultimately, the reason the Patriots didn’t have Polk in for a top-30 visit was because they didn’t have any more questions to ask.

“He’s a guy that we had our eye on for a while,” Wolf said. “Really good fit in our offense. He’s really tough. He’s strong. He can run all the routes, play inside and outside. He’s a good blocker, really competitive both for the ball in the air and a run-after-catch player. Really just a versatile, do-everything type guy. He ran a little bit faster than a lot of people expected, but when you turn the tape on, you see him running by people. Definitely excited to add him to the mix.”

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Polk is viewed as a versatile pass-catcher who uses his size and toughness to battle for the ball. While Wolf said he didn’t want to put Polk into the bucket of a traditional X receiver, New England is confident he can play there if tasked to do so.

“The system that I come from, we never really talk about X, Z, slot,” Wolf said. “We just try to add really good receivers and it would end up working out for us. So he’s a guy we feel like can play all the positions.”

Wolf was not the only one to express his excitement about Polk landing in New England. Patriots’ first-round quarterback Drake Maye, who was selected No. 3 overall, along with Polk himself all shared the reaction.

Featured image via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images