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#pounditTuesday, April 23, 2024

Report reveals Patriots’ plan for No. 3 overall pick in draft

Patriots helmet on the bench

Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; A New England Patriots helmet sits on the sideline during the first half against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots seem to have made up their mind about what they want to do with the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic wrote on Thursday that the Patriots “badly want a quarterback” with their first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. New England’s front office and coaching staff are all reportedly in agreement that the most efficient way to start their post-Bill Belichick rebuild is to draft an elite quarterback prospect.

While there is still plenty of time to evaluate and meet with players, the Patriots are said to be high on all three of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. Caleb Williams is a virtual lock to be taken first overall, but New England is guaranteed a shot at either Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels at No. 3. Howe said he was told by executives not associated with the Patriots that all three QBs appear to have the traits that director of player personnel Eliot Wolf covets.

The Patriots also desperately need a wide receiver, so another option would be to take Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 3 and address the quarterback position later. However, as Howe notes, there is a growing belief around the NFL that the next tier of QB prospects — JJ McCarthy, Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. — could be gone by the time New England picks again at No. 34.

Mac Jones is still on his rookie contract, but the former Alabama star has regressed over the past two seasons. While part of the issue was his relationship with Belichick, it sounds like at least some with the Patriots would not be happy if Jones returns as the starter in 2024.

Signing a veteran like Baker Mayfield in free agency would be another option, but that would be costly. The Patriots have several needs and would be better suited spending that money elsewhere, which is likely another reason they are leaning toward drafting a quarterback early.

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