New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 2: Joe Milton III #7 of the Tennessee Volunteers calls a play against the Virginia Cavaliers in the second half at Nissan Stadium on September 2, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots needed one quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft. In the end, they walked away with two.

That second quarterback is Tennessee’s Joe Milton. The Patriots selected Milton with the 193rd overall pick – the pick they got back after trading away another quarterback, Mac Jones.

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Milton is an older prospect with some outstanding physical traits. However he’s not as experienced as most players his age (he turned 24 earlier this spring) with just one full season as a starter under his belt.

What should Patriots fans know about Milton? Here’s what the top experts were saying leading up to the draft.

  • Lance Zierlein,

    “Rare physical specimen with the proverbial “arm talent to make all the NFL throws,” but he’s prevented from doing so by a lack of timing, accuracy and touch. Milton is gifted with a cannon for a right arm and can throw the ball as hard or as far as you want. His fastballs are often inaccurate and difficult to catch for moving targets, and he was wildly inconsistent locating his deep throws. He can elude pressure, extend plays and put jaw-dropping highlights on tape, but he’s never been able to mature his game from splashy to consistent. He’s primarily a single-side reader who struggles to improvise with his eyes. The physical ingredients could get him drafted on Day 3, but his lack of development over six seasons discourages his projection.”


  • Dane Brugler, The Athletic

    ““A one-year starter at Tennessee, Milton waited his turn to be the triggerman in head coach Josh Heupel’s offense, which is an offspring of Art Briles’ system (spacing and fast tempo to put defenses in conflict). After not being able to secure the starting job at Michigan or during his first two seasons in Knoxville, he finally got his chance as a super senior and looked like a talented, yet inexperienced and inconsistent passer. A strong, mobile athlete, Milton has an absolute hose for an arm (in the mix for the strongest I have ever evaluated) and will make throws every game that gives evaluators hope. However, the lack of consistency with his decision-making and ball placement remains a pinnacle concern. Overall, Milton has the physical tools that scream first-round pick, but his passing instincts and ability to read the field are undeveloped. He is a project quarterback prospect, and some teams believe he will eventually transition to tight end in the NFL (similar path as Logan Thomas).”


  • Damian Parson, The Draft Network

    “Joe Milton has an elite blend of physical tools but needs to refine portions of his game to be a consistent starter at the next level…Joe Milton III’s A-trait is his arm strength. He can send passes 60+ yards without a crow hop and with the flick of his wrist. He has easy velocity to drive throws in the middle of the field and into tight windows. Milton can make every single throw in the book and make it look effortlessly. He excels in targeting the short to intermediate areas of the defense. 2023 was his most efficient season as a passer.

    Listed as 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Milton’s frame and athleticism force defenses to play 11-on-11 football. He can expand the offensive playbook with designed QB runs. Milton can improvise with his legs as well.

    Milton is a “fastball pitcher”. He can throw the 100 mph heat seeker but lacks a change-up, curve, sliders, etc. He tried to alter the tempo and pacing of his throws especially deep down the field but missed the mark more times than not. He struggles with finding the right amount of air, and touch to put on passes down the field. His accuracy and ball placement remain inconsistent. Milton’s mechanics are a big part of the issue. He tends to over-stride when stepping into throws leading to poor ball placement and high passes. When pressured, if Milton doesn’t use his legs, he will stand flat-footed to throw from his upper body.

    Milton projects as a day 2/3 developmental prospect. The physical tools teams want are there but reining is needed to see how consistent he can be as an accurate passer.”


  • Derrik Klassen, Bleacher Report

    “Joe Milton is an uber-talented player with very few projectible traits and experience for the NFL.

    Everything with Milton starts with the arm talent. He has a quick, powerful throwing motion in which the ball jumps off his hand. Milton throws with blistering velocity and the kind of downfield range that can threaten defenses goal line to goal line. All of his best throws are down the field. In theory, every piece of grass must be defended against Milton.

    Milton is a good athlete as well. He is explosive and agile for his size, but wins more as a strider in space. He is a dangerous mover when he leaves the pocket and commits to being a runner.

    Milton shows admirable toughness in the pocket, too. He isn’t afraid of the pocket closing on him, and he’s shown flashes of impressive pocket movement with his eyes up.

    However, Milton is a sort of robotic thrower. He struggles to adjust and find throwing platforms consistently beyond his first read, though there are sparse flashes of him doing so.

    Milton is also largely inaccurate, especially in the underneath area. The closer a throw is to the line of scrimmage, the more Milton’s intense velocity and lack of touch is a burden rather than a gift.

    Moreover, Milton comes from a Tennessee offense that asked very little from him as a processor. A good chunk of the offense was built on screens, RPOs and simplified vertical reads. Milton requires a ton of projection as an NFL-level processor and decision-maker.

    Milton is too talented to not take a chance on. His arm talent is otherworldly, and his pocket toughness is a good cornerstone trait. With that said, being a 24-year-old developmental player with spotty accuracy suggests Milton faces a long and winding road before he becomes a serious starting quarterback in the NFL.”


  • Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

    “Milton grades out as a late-round or potential PFA prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. He has one of the biggest arms in the class, and that alone will generate interest for him. But in Milton’s profile, there’s also plenty of uncertainty regarding how he’ll translate in the NFL.

    Physical tools serve as the main selling point for Milton. At around 6’5″, 235 pounds, he’s an exceptional linear athlete with great burst and speed in open space, and he’s also a rocket-armed signal-caller who can drive elite velocity to all ranges with effortless ease.

    Milton’s physical gifts also trickle into other parts of the passing game. His arm strength lends him impressive deep passing ability, and his velocity allows him to drive the ball where only his WR can reach. He’s also tough and poised in the pocket.

    All this being said, Milton’s near-complete lack of autonomous processing and anticipation as a field general causes concern for his NFL transition. At Tennessee, Milton was almost entirely reliant on one-read throws, with very few pure drop-backs and progressions baked in.

    Even on one-read throws, Milton experienced startling delays between recognition and trigger at times, and his inability to adapt off of schemed targets also created turnover opportunities for opposing defenses.

    As a late-round developmental QB option, Milton’s physical talent does produce intrigue — but as a 24-year-old rookie, he’s shown very little as a processor and independent decision-maker. In the NFL, QBs need to be adaptable, and Milton’s tape at Tennessee was the antithesis of that.

    Ultimately, with his size and athleticism, a move to tight end could be feasible in the future. But it’s hard to imagine Milton won’t at least get a look as a developmental QB3 first, with the arm strength he possesses.”


  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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