Eliot Wolf views quarterback class in 2024 NFL Draft as ‘unique'

Eliot Wolf views quarterback class in 2024 NFL Draft as ‘unique' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

How will Eliot Wolf and the New England Patriots decide to use the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

We still don't know for sure, but we did learn a few things from Wolf's press conference Thursday at Gillette Stadium.

He didn't rule out the possibility of trading the No. 3 pick, saying "We're open to anything; moving up, moving down. We're open for business in the first round and in every round." He also noted the Patriots would be "comfortable" taking one of the top three or four quarterbacks. When asked about the team's failed pursuit of free agent wideout Calvin Ridley, Wolf admitted that "another team offered more money would be the main thing."

Our insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry shared their impressions of Wolf's press conference (and much more) during the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Talk Podcast.

🔊 Patriots Talk Podcast: Eliot Wolf reaction: Patriots will take a quarterback, but will it be at No. 3? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"It sounds like they're going to be taking a quarterback at No. 3 overall," Perry said. "(Wolf) said, on more than one occasion, he feels as though this is a very deep draft class, and he feels this is a unique year in that regard. And he was provided with specific examples by Tom E. Curran. 'If J.J. McCarthy, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels were sitting there at No. 3, you wouldn't feel like you were settling for any of those guys, is that fair to say?'"

"Yeah, I think that's fair," Wolf responded during his press conference. "And I think you could open it up to some other names as well. I think it's really unique here."

This wasn't the only instance when Wolf noted that this draft class is "unique" in regards to quarterbacks. He also mentioned it after being asked specifically about what's impressed him most about Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy following their recent visits to New England.

"I would say the best thing is kind of hearing what their teammates say about them," Wolf explained. "They're both very well thought of by all their teammates. Obviously, Michigan has a ton of guys in the draft. North Carolina, not as many, but they still have some significant guys. And it's just hearing how impressive they are as teammates, as people, as leaders.

"And again, I know you singled out two of them. I would say that's been impressive. I think it's a unique year, I'd say that's been impressive with all six of these quarterbacks that are kind of the top guys."

Six quarterbacks? Does that mean the Patriots would be comfortable taking someone like Michael Penix Jr. in the first round? Probably not, but it was interesting to hear Wolf mention that there are six top guys at the position.

"(Wolf) does seem to be generally aware of what a reach would be," Perry said. "And the entire world would consider Penix at No. 3 to be a reach. The reason I bring that up is I asked him about the 2018 draft and if his philosophy on drafting quarterbacks has changed at all since then, when he was working with the Browns and was a big proponent of them drafting Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall. He said, no, not really."

"I don't think it has," Wolf said in his presser when Perry asked him about any changes in his draft philosophy. "Every situation is unique. I mean, obviously Lamar Jackson is a Hall of Famer, and we didn't pick him. So that's not a great look. But also, if we picked Lamar Jackson at No. 1, we'd probably have had to pack our bags at that point, too.

"So, nothing's really changed. We're still looking for the good player. And I think in this situation, we're going to have the support that's needed for that quarterback, if we draft one, whoever it is, we're going to have a situation where they're supported in every way possible to make them succeed."

Another reason why it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots took a quarterback early in the draft is the fact that Wolf thinks his roster, as currently constructed, is capable of supporting a rookie QB.

"I do," Wolf said Thursday. "I read a lot of that storyline. I'm not really sure what that means. We have a solid offensive line. We re-signed Mike Onwenu, we have David Andrews coming back. We have three rookies that we drafted last year that are developing. We signed (Chukwuma) Okorafor from the Steelers. Hunter Henry. I mean, a good running game, a solid foundation and a solid system in place with coach (Alex) Van Pelt on the offense. So, I definitely feel like we can support that."

Taking a quarterback would be the smartest move by the Patriots at No. 3, but until the pick is actually made, it's fair to consider all types of scenarios given the abundance of weaknesses on offense this team must address before the 2024 season.

Also in this episode:

  • Takeaways from Eliot Wolf’s press conference

  • Which QBs are the Patriots comfortable drafting?

  • How ‘open for business’ are the Patriots?

  • How involved will ownership be in the draft?