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Patriots Football Sunday: Will Draft Day be Maye Day in Foxboro?



2024 NFL Draft prospect, North Carolina's Drake Maye (10) passes against Florida A&M during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

There are only 11 days remaining until the 2024 NFL Draft gets underway. The New England Patriots are set to select No. 3 overall. They haven’t picked that high since taking Washington State QB Drew Bledsoe with the first pick in the 1993 draft. Since the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders pick before New England, the Patriots have to wait to see who is available before knowing what they will do. However, the viewpoint of one insider paints a pretty clear picture for New England.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter, similar to this scribe, believes the Commanders will make Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels from LSU the No. 2 pick. This is under the assumption USC’s Caleb Williams, the 2022 Heisman winner, goes first overall to the Bears.

If Schefter is correct, this certainly narrows down the options for New England. I believe they are as follows:

Option 1 – Select the Top Quarterback on the Board

Drake Maye remains the top quarterback on my QB rankings. Understandably, not everyone has the same rankings. If they did, Maye would not even be an option at No. 3. I’m not under the impression he is a flawless quarterback, but I believe he’s the best option of any QB in this draft for New England. They have preached the importance of “draft and develop” and developing Drake Maye would land them the quarterback with the highest ceiling in the draft, in my estimation.

The other quarterback who would be under consideration is J.J. McCarthy from Michigan. Patriots executive Eliot Wolf loves J.J. McCarthy, according to reports. There is a lot to love. McCarthy’s “make up” seems similar to that of a legendary quarterback who went from the Wolverines to the Patriots and did quite well for himself. He is young (won’t turn 22 until 2025), has great fundamentals, and has a winning pedigree. His ability has been underrated, by my estimation, because he wasn’t asked to do a lot in college for Michigan to succeed. McCarthy did what he had to, which was win. That was his lone goal, and he accomplished it.

Maye would be my choice at No. 3 for New England in this scenario, but the love for McCarthy is not hard to understand. It would not be a shocking selection.

Option 2 – Select the Top Non-QB in the Draft

In this scenario, quarterbacks were off the board one-two. With the Patriots picking No. 3, they would have their choice of any player in the draft who was not a quarterback. This includes OT Joe Alt, WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (or another of the top three wide receivers), TE Brock Bowers, or any defensive player in the draft.

The reality of not going for a QB at No. 3 likely comes down to Harrison Jr. or Alt. Both would be Week 1 starters as rookies. Alt gives them an anchor on the blindside for the next decade. Harrison Jr. gives them a legit number-one receiver on a rookie contract. However, neither gives the Patriots the quarterback they desperately need.

That said, there is more than one way to build a roster, and New England should not be building theirs with competing for championships in 2024 in mind. This is going to be a multi-year process. It is not inconceivable that Eliot Wolf values a perennial Pro Bowl tackle in Alt or a game-changing wide receiver over a quarterback who might have to sit a year.

Option 3 – Trade Back

Hard to see trading up being an option for New England, so we’ll ignore that possibility here. Trading back is certainly in play though. Two potential ways with the Patriots trading back could make sense.

The first is to just move back slightly. The New York Giants, sitting at No. 6, seems to be the highest drafting team that might be looking to land a quarterback. Would New York give up a package of No. 6, No. 47 (Round 2), and a 2025 first-round pick to move up and get their guy at No. 3? Would the Patriots be willing to do it? The risk for New England is that if they are doing the deal hoping either Maye or McCarthy falls to No. 6 they are likely out of luck. Minnesota will look to aggressively move up from No. 11 to jump New England. This could leave the Patriots choosing between Joe Alt or the top wide receiver remaining at No. 6.

The second option would be to trade back directly with the Vikings. The Patriots pick up No. 11, No. 23, and their first in 2025 as well. Again, the problem for New England is this takes them away from any chance of landing Maye or McCarthy. They will also lose out on Alt, Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, and Rome Odunze as well. Suddenly Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. are both in play for the Patriots. The second tier of tackles and wide receivers are as well. The Patriots would look to get a combination of QB, WR, and OT with picks No. 111, No. 23, and No. 34. It is risky, but could work out great.

Nobody knows the answer until the name (or trade) is announced in 11 days. Stay tuned.

New England Patriots Podcasts

Although I haven’t been a fan of Boston sports radio in years (a bit too negative for my taste) I did have to start listening to it again at my boss’ request when Patriots Football Now launched last September. He wanted to make sure I knew what people were talking about, whether it was useful or not.

That said, I still love listening to podcasts. Although I study and report about the New England Patriots as a job, I also listen to others talking about them in my downtime. Whether that’s healthy or not remains to be seen.

A few that I have enjoyed in the past week include:

Julian Edelman’s Games With Names – Had Ty Law on to talk about the 2003 AFC Championship Game, the most fun game I ever attended live. Great listen!

Patriots 300 Level Podcast with Kevin Borelli and Eric Borelli – They were nice enough to have me on as a guest this past week to discuss the 2024 NFL Draft prospects at quarterback and what the New England Patriots should do at No. 3. Great guys and a great chat.

LockedOn Patriots – Mike D’Abate does a great job hosting every day. He just had on New England Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan to break down the Kyle Dugger contract and much more.

If anyone has any recommendations for more great coverage, drop me a DM on X. I’ll try to highlight a few great ones weekly. There is a ton of good, useful content out there, which keeps me both entertained and learning.

More Moving Numbers for New England

The New England Patriots had a few more number change announcements over the past week, and a few known ones became official at the start of voluntary workouts.

Christian Gonzalez: 6 -> 0
DeMario Douglas: 81 -> 3
Marte Mapu: 30 -> 15
Isaiah Bolden: 7 -> 29

Other returning players reportedly changed numbers but it was not made official yet. And newcomers got numbers assigned as well. However everything is still lucid at this point, so hold off on ordering (most) Patriots jerseys just yet.

Patriots Football Now Schedule for the Week

This coming week on Patriots Football Now, there will be…

Weekly Wednesday: Seven-Round New England Patriots Mock Draft.

Patriots Roster Breakdown: Among this week’s featured players include DeMario Douglas, Shaun Wade, Alex Austin, Marte Mapu, and Chad Ryland.

NFL Draft Rankings: Running Backs, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends.

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