2024 NFL mock draft roundup: New first-round predictions for Patriots

2024 NFL mock draft roundup: New first-round predictions for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Now that the regular season is over, it's time for the fanbases of the 18 teams that didn't make the playoffs to start turning their attention to the 2024 NFL Draft.

The draft order for the first 18 picks are set, and the New England Patriots have the No. 3 pick after finishing with a 4-13 record at the bottom of the AFC standings.

It's the first top-three pick the Patriots have had since they selected Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe at No. 1 overall in 1993. The general consensus, at least among recent expert mock drafts, is that New England again will opt to use a top-three pick on a quarterback.

🔊 Next Pats: Why Jayden Daniels should be the third QB taken in the 2024 NFL Draft | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The top three quarterbacks in the 2024 class are USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels. Williams and Maye are projected to go No. 1 and No. 2 overall, respectively, which would leave the Patriots a chance to get Daniels, who won the Heisman Trophy this past season.

Daniels completed 72.2 percent of his pass attempts for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns and four interceptions for LSU this season. He also tallied 1,134 yards (8.4 per carry) and 10 touchdowns on the ground. His ability to escape the pocket and pick up huge yards with his legs has been compared to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The Patriots don't have to take a quarterback at No. 3. They could take a top wide receiver prospect such as Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr. They also could look at the best left tackles available. A trade down to acquire more picks is always a possibility, too, especially if another team is willing to overpay to move up for Daniels or Harrison.

Which players should we expect the Patriots to target with the No. 3 pick?

Here's a roundup of new 2024 NFL mock drafts published after Week 18.

Trevor Sikkema, Pro Football Focus: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Bleacher Report NFL Scouting Department: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY Sports: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Luke Easterling, Sports Illustrated: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Connor Livesay, The 33rd Team: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

A.J. Schulte, Pro Football Network: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Steve Serby, New York Post: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Walter Football: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Tankathon: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU