ESPN Patriots Insider Lays Out Team’s ‘Most Likely’ Move With No. 3 Pick in NFL Draft

Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss dished out some intel on New England's most likely plan heading into Thursday's draft.
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The New England Patriots hold the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL draft and have several paths available to them. With the first round a few days away, the choices have been narrowed down to either selecting a quarterback or trading down in exchange for a haul of draft picks. Longtime beat writer and ESPN insider Mike Reiss gave readers a glimpse into the likeliest outcome over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, Reiss published a notes column about the Patriots' draft plans in light of GM Eliot Wolf's comments from last week. He said, "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.,"

This was long the strongest possible outcome for the Patriots. They traded away 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones after three failed seasons as Tom Brady's supposed successor. The only move New England made to bolster the quarterback room in free agency was signing journeyman Jacoby Brissett to a one-year contract. Bailey Zappe started six games last season and is still with the team but didn't play well enough to reasonably believe he can be a long-term starter in the NFL.

The Pats need a franchise quarterback, in other words. And this is their best chance to get one. The 2024 draft contains several potential players who fit that mold; the three listed above along with Caleb Williams, fated to go to Chicago with the No. 1 pick. Daniels won the Heisman Trophy at LSU last season and Maye has long been seen as an elite signal calling prospect. McCarthy doesn't possess the same level of physical traits as those two, but his stock has risen rapidly throughout the draft process. It would no longer be a surprise to see him go in the first five picks.

The temptation to trade down is probably strong for New England. The offense badly needs an injection of talent across the board and the defense features a few aging cornerstones. Moving out of a high pick in order to boost the talent across the board is a proven method of team-building, and plenty of digital ink has been spilled in support of making sure the roster is optimized for a rookie quarterback. The Patriots have holes up and down the roster and this draft is deep with talent.

But staying put and taking the signal caller seems like the path they'll go with at this point in time. Tough to criticize that choice. Whether it's Maye, Daniels, or McCarthy, the Patriots should exit the 2024 draft with a new quarterback of the future.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.