Patriots favorites for No. 1 pick in 2025 NFL Draft


ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) projection model has the Patriots saddled with the league’s toughest 2024 schedule.

Jerod Mayo and the Patriots could be looking at a long season in 2024. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Patriots hope they have their new franchise quarterback in Drake Maye.

But with several other holes still present across New England’s depth chart, the Patriots are staring at a multi-year rebuild under Jerod Mayo.

That line of thinking was reflected in the latest analytics deep dive from ESPN, with Seth Walder using the network’s Football Power Index (FPI) projection model to map out several predictions from the upcoming 2024 season.

Given both New England’s shortcomings on the roster and what is shaping up to be another daunting schedule, Patriots fans might be looking at yet another arduous year at Gillette Stadium this fall.

ESPN’s FPI still has the Buffalo Bills as the team to beat in a competitive AFC East — with Josh Allen and Co. leading the division with a 44 percent chance to win the division. Miami is next at 31 percent, while the Jets (even with a healthy Aaron Rodgers) are third at 25 percent.

The Patriots, meanwhile, aren’t so lucky. 

“The FPI gives New England less than a 1% chance to win the division and only a 2% chance to reach the playoffs,” Walder wrote. “The Patriots have the hardest strength of schedule in the NFL this year, but if you ask me those projections still feel a little overconfident forecasting New England’s failure. Who’s to say rookie quarterback and No. 3 pick Drake Maye can’t be good right away?”

Even though New England is bringing back a strong defense, question marks surrounding the Patriots’ ability to make sizable gains on offense (especially if Maye spends a majority of the season on the bench) has ESPN’s FPI projecting another high draft pick next April for Eliot Wolf and his staff.

“New England’s league-topping strength of schedule combined with the FPI’s skepticism regarding its roster has the model believing the Patriots are the most likely team to pick first in the 2025 NFL draft, with a 22% chance,” Walder wrote. “The Panthers rate lower than the Patriots in the FPI, but their chance at picking No. 1 is slightly worse (21%).

The Denver Broncos (12 percent), Tennessee Titans (7 percent), and both the Washington Commanders (6 percent) and Giants (6 percent) round out the list of teams projected to be in the running for the No. 1 pick in the 2025 NFL Draft. 

Early projections for next year’s draft class lean heavily on the defensive side of the ball, with top standouts being Tennessee edge rusher James Pearce Jr., Michigan DT Mason Graham, Michigan CB Will Johnson, and Georgia edge rusher Mykel Williams. 

But if New England ends up with the No. 1 pick, it can either secure a haul by trading down — or using that coveted selection to upgrade its offense. Potential targets include LSU left tackle Will Campbell, Texas left tackle Kelvin Banks Jr., and Missouri WR Luther Burden III. 

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