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Would Patriots consider taking a tackle at No. 3 if Eliot Wolf is GM?

Would Patriots consider taking a tackle at No. 3 if Eliot Wolf is GM? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If you look at recent NFL mock drafts, it's not a matter of whether the New England Patriots take an offensive skill player with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but who they'll take -- UNC quarterback Drake Maye, LSU QB Jayden Daniels or Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

An interesting theory got floated over the weekend, however: If Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf has final say on personnel decisions as the team's de facto (or formal) general manager, could an offensive tackle be in play at No. 3?

The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote Saturday that Wolf and Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh are both "under consideration" for New England's GM job, but if Wolf ends up "running the show, expect the Patriots to give a long, hard look at drafting a left tackle with the No. 3 pick."

The Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan added Sunday that Patriots fans should "brace themselves for the possibility" of New England drafting a tackle at No. 3, noting that there have been "rumblings" about Wolf taking over as GM in New England.

So, would the Patriots really pass on their potential QB of the future to draft an offensive lineman third overall?

Here's the argument in favor of drafting a tackle: It's one of the most important positions in football and an area where New England desperately needs help, with 2023 starting left tackle Trent Brown set to hit free agency. The Patriots need to shore up their protection if they want any new quarterback to succeed, so it could make more sense to acquire a "bridge" quarterback like Baker Mayfield or Kirk Cousins in free agency -- or trade for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields -- and focus on building out the offensive line first.

We understand that argument, but at the moment, taking a left tackle at No. 3 seems like a waste of resources.

The top two tackle prospects in the 2024 class, Penn State's Olu Fashanu and Notre Dame's Joe Alt, currently aren't viewed as top-five picks. Our Phil Perry had Alt going seventh and Fashanu going 13th in his latest mock draft, and it's hard to find any mock draft that doesn't have either Daniels, Maye or Harrison going at No. 3.

So, if the Patriots prefer a tackle over a QB, it makes sense to trade down from No. 3 to a spot where they can still grab a premium left tackle while acquiring additional draft capital from a team that wants to take Maye, Daniels or Harrison.

The Patriots obviously should consider all of their options with their highest draft pick since 1993. But even if they have other plans at QB, they can do better than using their No. 3 pick on a player with outside-the-top-five value.