Patriots Draft Rumors: Latest on Trade Chances, Mindset at No. 3, and More

What are the New England Patriots planning with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft? How do they view the top QBs? Here are the latest rumors.

So this is what owning a top-three draft pick is like?

The New England Patriots are generating more pre-NFL Draft rumors than any other franchise. The Patriots need a new quarterback — and a top prospect will be available at No. 3 — but their arguably greater need for additional assets could lead to a blockbuster trade. Much has been written about the Patriots recently, so let’s sift through it all.

What Are Insiders Saying About Patriots Plans for No. 3 Pick?

Seemingly everyone with a blue check mark on X has reported something on this topic. NFL reporters from across the credibility spectrum have weighed in, but let’s focus on those who know the Patriots best and have the best track records.

Here’s what ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss wrote on Sunday:

“The most likely scenario, per sources, remains that the Patriots will stay put at No. 3 and select LSU’s Jayden Daniels, North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy,” wrote Reiss, who added the Patriots will consider any “unprecedented” trade offer.

“Simply put, as one Patriots source said late last week, ‘you can’t win without a quarterback.’ [Jerod] Mayo and some top decision-makers have privately acknowledged that their legacies will be tied to whatever they decide at quarterback.”

Reiss added: “So now, barring an unexpected blockbuster trade offer, according to sources, the Patriots will move forward with a plan that has been months in the works — getting a quarterback.”

Reiss doesn’t publish this kind of information unless he’s sure about it. Patriots fans should take it seriously.

As for national NFL insiders, let’s look at ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who has a strong history of reporting on the Patriots.

“The feeling around the league right now is that Drake Maye would be that pick at No. 3,” Fowler said during a TV segment over the weekend.

Obviously, things could change. Teams love sharing misinformation through reporters before the draft, and New England is no different.

“The Patriots will tell anyone who will listen that they think McCarthy is worth the third overall pick,” Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard wrote Sunday. “I certainly have my doubts and think it’s at least an attempt at a smokescreen, but the essential question is which team is it aimed at?”

The Patriots are playing both sides of the fence — and they should be. New England sits in a position of power in the draft, and it shouldn’t tip its hand. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility of a trade, which has been rumored about since the end of the regular season.

What About a Trade?

Deep breath.

There’s a lot of conflicting information on this subject. Again, we’d suggest putting more weight on the reports from Reiss and Fowler, but you can’t ignore what other insiders have said.

“The New England Patriots are listening and taking calls from teams looking to move into 3,” The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported on Monday.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter also weighed in during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

“New England’s gonna listen to teams that call,” Schefter said. “The two teams, in my mind, that I’ve been able to ascertain that have been the most active calling up to No. 3, have been the Minnesota Vikings … and the New York Giants. Those are the two teams that have expressed an interest in moving up to No. 3.

“Now, whether they can get up to No. 3 is a whole other issue. … It’s gonna take a lot.”

But what sort of trade, or trades, would convince the Patriots to give up the No. 3 pick?

In a story for ESPN.com, Schefter suggested New England could mirror the Arizona Cardinals from last year’s draft: trading down before moving back up for a desired prospect.

Bedard explored this idea in greater detail in his own column.

“The chances (of a trade) are very low but let’s play this out for a minute,” Bedard wrote. “The only way I would do it if I were Eliot Wolf is if I had pre-arranged a three-way trade, or at least the bones of one to make sure I got at least McCarthy, and hopefully acquired an extra pick along the way.”

Bedard then offered this Patriots-Vikings-Cardinals three-way hypothetical:

Trade 1

  • Vikings get: 2024 R1 (No. 3)
  • Patriots get: Nos. 11 and 23, 2025 R1, 2025 R3

Trade 2

  • Cardinals get: No. 11, Vikings’ 2025 R1
  • Patriots get: 2024 R1 (No. 4)

In that scenario, the Patriots would move down one spot in Round 1 while adding this year’s 23rd overall pick and a third-rounder in next year’s draft. That would be a great deal if it could be worked out.

However, all signs still point toward the Patriots staying at No. 3.

“I don’t think they’re trading down,” Bedard wrote.

“Still more likely than not to make that pick at three,” Schefter said of the Patriots.

“From what I’ve heard, the Patriots are very, very into both Maye and Daniels,” NFL Media’s Peter Schrager said on McAfee’s show. ” … I would be very surprised if they got cute.”

“My guess at this point is the team sticks at three and takes Maye,” Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote Monday.

Will another team make the Patriots an offer they can’t refuse? We’ll just have to wait and see.

How Do the Patriots View the Top QBs?

Multiple reports indicate the Patriots have Jayden Daniels ranked as the No. 2 quarterback in this year’s class. But if reports connecting Daniels to the Washington Commanders at No. 2 are accurate, New England will have to choose between Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy.

Breer reported McCarthy has “fans” in the Patriots’ front office but that Maye has the edge. Bedard seemingly agrees.

“What do I think the Patriots’ QB rankings are at the moment? Daniels, Maye, McCarthy,” Bedard wrote.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft QB Rankings

That’s really all we have to go on. But when you put all the pieces together, it’s hard not to feel like Maye would be the choice at No. 3 if the Patriots decide to stick and pick a quarterback.

Still, insider reports are just one piece of the puzzle. Three months into their post-Bill Belichick era, the Patriots are being more open than ever before — to a point.

What Is New England Saying?

Head coach Jerod Mayo and owner Robert Kraft both recently expressed a preference for selecting a QB but acknowledged a trade might be best for the franchise.

“We sit in a very enviable spot at three where we could take someone at three, or, if someone offers a ‘bag’ … a lot of first-round picks, we’d definitely have to talk about those things,” Mayo said in March.

But let’s focus on de facto general manager Eliot Wolf, who met with reporters last week for roughly 20 minutes.

“Ongoing,” Wolf said when asked about pre-draft trade discussions. “We’re open to anything — moving up, moving down. We’re open for business the first round and in every round. We have some holes we feel like we need to fill in the draft. We’re a draft-and-develop team; the more picks we have, the better.

“But if there’s an opportunity to move up and strike if the board recommends it, then we won’t be afraid to pull the trigger on that either.”

Wolf also was asked whether the Patriots were confident they wouldn’t be “settling” by drafting Daniels, Maye, or McCarthy at pick 3. His answer was interesting, to say the least.

“Yeah, I think that’s fair,” Wolf said. “And I think you could open it up to some other names as well. I think it’s a really unique year.”

MORE: Former Patriots Says ‘No Way’ to Drake Maye Selection

He then was asked for his thoughts on Maye and McCarthy, specifically.

“The best thing is hearing what their teammates say about them,” he said. “They’re both very well thought of by all their teammates. … It’s just hearing how impressive they are as teammates, as people, as leaders.

” … I know you singled out two of them. … I think it’s a unique year. I’d say that’s been impressive with all six of these quarterbacks that are kind of the top guys.”

Do Wolf’s remarks indicate the Patriots are considering reaching or trading down for Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix? You could make that case.

Finally, consider this exchange:

Reporter: Whether you stay at three or move somewhere, do you feel like quarterback has to be the pick?

Wolf: No.

Reporter: Would you be comfortable using the No. 3 pick on one of the top three or four quarterbacks?

Wolf: I think we’d be comfortable with it.

Our take: Wolf was being intentionally misleading. It’s in the Patriots’ best interest to appear open to all options. However, in the end, it’s hard to envision New England passing on the opportunity to select its next franchise quarterback.

What’s Ownership’s Role?

This hasn’t been a great offseason for the Kraft Family.

From Robert Kraft shooting himself in the foot with his public comments to him and Bill Belichick leaking negative information about each other, the Patriots have felt like a soap opera since January. It isn’t good for anyone.

But where does Robert’s son, Jonathan, fit into all this?

The heir to the franchise throne, Jonathan Kraft currently serves as president of the Kraft group. After the Patriots parted with Belichick in early January, multiple rumors indicated Kraft was seeking additional input in personnel decisions.

“He is not involved in the day-to-day operations,” Robert said when asked about Jonathan during Mayo’s introductory news conference.

Kraft, Mayo, and Wolf have maintained that stance when asked about Jonathan in recent weeks. But Russini offered a conflicting report Monday afternoon.

“While Eliot Wolf is running point, I’m told Patriots’ President Jonathan Kraft is heavily involved in the decision-making,” she wrote on the X platform.

If true, what does that mean for the Patriots? It’s hard to say. Back in February, the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reported that Kraft “really wants a quarterback.” And Kraft would be well within his right to influence a potentially franchise-altering draft decision.

That said, some believe such meddling is a hallmark of a dysfunctional franchise. And the Patriots have descended into dysfunction since Tom Brady left in 2020.

KEEP READING: Netflix Announces Live Roast of Tom Brady

But the narrative would quickly change if the Patriots come out of this draft with a franchise quarterback and talented offensive weapons. Thankfully, the picture will become much clearer when the draft arrives Thursday night.

Miss football? The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here, boss. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s all-new Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls — lone wolf or with your friends!

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