ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates believe the Patriots will focus on offense early and often in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Kiper and Yates released a three-round mock draft Monday, 10 days before the first day of the highly anticipated seven-round event. Despite plenty of chatter — including from New England brass — about potentially trading down in Round 1, Kiper projects the Patriots to stay at No. 3 and select Drake Maye after fellow quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels were selected first and second overall, respectively.

From there, Yates sees New England surrounding its new franchise signal-caller with promising talent. The veteran analyst projected Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman, a potential “top-notch red zone target,” to be the Patriots’ second draft pick at No. 34 overall. Kiper penciled in the same selection when he released a two-round mock draft last week.

While targeting a different area of need in the third round would make sense for New England, Yates believes Jerod Mayo and company will remain locked in at wide receiver and select North Carolina product Tez Walker at No. 68 overall.

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“Yes, I already gave Keon Coleman to the Patriots in Round 2,” Yates wrote. “But I’m double-dipping at wide receiver — and setting up Drake Maye with a familiar target in Walker, whose length and speed would help open up this offense.”

New England is coming off a string of seasons in which an above-average defense was put to waste by an anemic offense. So, Patriots fans should be encouraged by the ESPN projections and hope the actual picks shake out in similar fashion.

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