Apr 24, 2024 - Sports

Patriots face franchise-altering decision with No. 3 pick in NFL Draft

A compilation of UNC quarterback Drake Maye and LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels in uniform during game action.

UNC's Drake Maye (left) and LSU's Jayden Daniels could suit up for New England. Photos: Kevin C. Cox and Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

For the first time in three decades, the Patriots have a top-3 pick in the NFL Draft, positioning them to make a franchise-altering decision tonight.

Why it matters: The Patriots have been searching for a new face of the franchise since Tom Brady left in 2020. In a strong draft for quarterback prospects, they could use their No. 3 pick to select one — or trade the pick for a haul of assets.

Here are some names you might soon see on jerseys all over town:

Likely unattainable: Caleb Williams, the former Oklahoma and University of Southern California phenom QB, is expected to be drafted by the Bears, who have the No. 1 pick.

Top contenders: The Pats have been linked to the next two QBs on most evaluators' rankings: University of North Carolina's Drake Maye and Louisiana State University's Jayden Daniels.

  • Maye, who has a rocket arm and strong build, was one of the nation's elite passers before his productivity dipped last season.
  • Daniels, who won the Heisman Trophy, is an explosive runner and passer. But scouts worry his narrow frame could make him injury-prone.

The wild card: A rising name among the QB crop is J.J. McCarthy, who led the University of Michigan to the National Championship last season.

  • Playing in the Wolverines' run-heavy offense, McCarthy wasn't asked to pass as much as the other top prospects. But he played well on the biggest stages.

The intrigue: The Pats have reportedly hosted Maye and Daniels for visits in Foxborough. They haven't brought in McCarthy — but did host University of Washington QB Michael Penix.

  • Penix, who led the Huskies to the College Football Playoff, isn't expected to be selected until the mid-first round or later.

Yes, but: He could be in play for New England if they trade their No. 3 pick, which would land them a bevy of additional picks, players or a mix of both.

What they're saying: "We're open to anything," Pats executive Eliot Wolf told reporters last week. "Moving up, moving down. We're open for business in the first round and in every round."

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