New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 25: A view of New England Patriots helmets on the bench before the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots need a quarterback, and the people in charge won’t let them get out of the 2024 NFL Draft without one.

At least, that’s what it sounds like, when you listen to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Though he claimed to be hands-off when it comes to the football operation, Kraft does run the organization, and can influence major decisions in any area, if he so pleases. Kraft also recently said that he would like to see the Patriots get a “top-rate young quarterback,” so hands-off, he is not.

As they sit at the No. 3 pick in the draft, with three highly rated quarterback prospects available at the top, the Patriots have it lined up for them too perfectly not to simply stay at 3 and take one. It’s arguably just as risky to pass on one of these guys, and we’re not expecting ownership to let them do that, anyway.

So, let’s kick off a new Patriots mock draft with another new QB…

Round 1, Pick No. 3:
QB Jayden Daniels, LSU

In the latest Patriots mock draft, Jayden Daniels heads to the Patriots at No. 3 overall. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

In the latest Patriots mock draft, Jayden Daniels heads to the Patriots at No. 3 overall. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Yes, Daniels has risen as high as No. 2 on a lot of big boards, and he’s become heavily rumored as the Commanders’ pick at second overall. But that was before the pro days. For the purposes of this Patriots fan-fiction, Washington opts for UNC’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, allowing the dynamic Daniels to slip to the Patriots at third.

The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner is an exceptional athlete, with a very good arm and elite running ability, the kind of dual threat that can thrive in today’s NFL. He’s also commended for his football intelligence and ability to make passes from the pocket, and not always on his first read. His combination of physical and mental acumen gives him a chance to start right away.

MORE: Patriots have top quarterback prospect ‘squarely on their radar’

The obvious concern with Daniels is his relatively wiry build at 6-foot-4 and only 210 pounds. That, combined with his running and a propensity to hold the ball too long, make him a five-alarm injury risk. It would be wise for his new team to make sure he can consistently get rid of the ball quickly from the pocket and keep himself out of physical danger.

Self-preservation is the name of the game with Daniels, because as long as he’s on the field, he has a chance to be a high-end playmaker at the NFL level. That’s why he’s a virtual certainty to go in the top-3 of the draft. Here, the Patriots hope they land their next franchise quarterback.

  • TRADE!

    Patriots get

    Picks 25, 91

    Packers get

    Picks 34, 68, 137

    That’s right, we’re just makin’ up trades here at the Sports Hub. But this deal is based on a very similar one that the Jets and Titans made in the 2022 draft, so it’s plausible.

    For the Patriots’ needs, they’re best off trading up into the first round and bypassing the second round altogether. Green Bay, meanwhile, opts to accumulate more picks, as they view their guy to be similar value at 34 as 25.

  • Round 1, Pick No. 25:
    WR Brian Thomas Jr., LSU

    BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 18: Brian Thomas Jr. #11 of the LSU Tigers catches a pass over Daedae Hill #6 of the Central Michigan Chippewas during the second quarter at Tiger Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    The Patriots pull a Bengals and pair their new franchise quarterback with one of his receivers from college. Thomas was merely the No. 2 receiver at LSU behind elite prospect Malik Nabers, but he has excellent physical tools that give him No. 1 potential.

    Thomas stands at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, the kind of size you love to see in an outside receiver – and the kind that Eliot Wolf has historically liked. He has the speed to separate down the field and be a dependable big-play guy early in his career.

    Though a very intriguing prospect due to his pure physical abilities, Thomas is generally described as an unrefined route-runner. That, and he’ll need to get better against press-man coverage for when the separation isn’t there.

    But, Thomas has enough high-end physical talent to immediately become the Patriots’ new No. 1 receiver, with an extremely high ceiling.

  • Round 3, Pick No. 91:
    TE Cade Stover, Ohio State

    COLUMBUS, OHIO - OCTOBER 07: Cade Stover #8 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 07, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images)

    Ben Jackson/Getty Images

    After sitting out 65 picks in a row, the Patriots end up with one of the draft’s best tight end prospects. Stover is a converted defensive lineman who has shown impressive ability as a pass-catcher at his new position. Stover’s route-running, hands, and elusiveness after the catch give him potential to be a versatile weapon.

    As one might expect for this type of player, Stover does have to work on his blocking, and the elevated competition at the NFL level will give him room to refine his receiving skills. But as he comes to a Patriots team with two veteran tight ends atop the depth chart, Stover would have plenty of time to develop.

  • Round 4, Pick No. 103:
    OT Matt Goncalves, Pittsburgh

    Nov 19, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Matt Goncalves (76) blocks at the line of scrimmage against Duke Blue Devils linebacker Shaka Heyward (42) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    The Patriots have so many major needs, especially on offense, that they were never really going to be able to fix all of them in a single draft. So, the area where they take the hit is at tackle. But Goncalves is an intriguing prospect that would make for a good priority day 3 pick to develop with the Patriots.

    Goncalves is 6-foot-6 with good-enough arm length at 33 1/4 inches, and he has experience at both tackle spots. He was also a team captain at Pittsburgh, which is a plus. He’ll need to refine his techniques to make up for a lack of high-end athleticism at the position, but he has the upside of a tackle that can develop into a starter.

  • Round 6, Pick No. 180:
    QB Joe Milton III, Texas

    KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 14: Joe Milton III #7 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs the ball against the Texas A&M Aggies in the second quarter at Neyland Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

    Eakin Howard/Getty Images

    This one’s for my colleague Alex Barth, who has easily the best description of Joe Milton in the entire football world. Barth denies actually liking Milton as a prospect, so, if only to mildly annoy our resident draft expert, we’re going to take a flyer on him for a QB-needy Patriots team.

    Milton has elite size at 6-foot-5 and an absolute cannon of a throwing arm, but his lack of development over six years in college has made him a frustrating prospect. But if there’s any team in the league that should take a chance on him and see if THEY can unlock his potential, it’s the Patriots.

  • Round 6, Pick No. 193:
    CB Johnny Dixon, Penn State

    PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: Cornerback Johnny Dixon #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates his interception against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second quarter of a game at SHI Stadium on November 19, 2022 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    It would be smart for the Patriots to get out of this draft with a new cornerback, and Dixon checks some boxes that the Pats historically have liked at the position. He plays a physical press-man style and can make it hard on receivers at the catch point, and he also has experience as a blitzer.

    The concerns with Dixon mostly go back to a relative lack of size and play strength, which could limit him against outside receivers at the highest level. But his man cover skills could help him surprise people as a day-3 pick.

  • Round 7, Pick No. 231:
    OT Julian Pearl, Illinois

    EVANSTON, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 12: Devin O'Rourke #46 of the Northwestern Wildcats rushes against Julian Pearl #54 of the Illinois Fighting Illini at Ryan Field on December 12, 2020 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern defeated Illinois 28-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Pearl is the ideal type of prospect for the Patriots to gamble on in the seventh round. He fills a positional need, he’s athletic, and he has the requisite size and length. The issues are with his techniques and overall play strength, but these are things that could potentially be coached up and/or improved.

    The Patriots would come out of this draft with the tackle position remaining a work in progress, but Pearl is a nice project to take on with a pick in the 200s.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content.

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