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Report: Patriots met with QB prospects J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix at NFL Combine

Report: Patriots met with QB prospects J.J. McCarthy, Bo Nix at NFL Combine originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2024 NFL Draft combine is underway in Indianapolis and the New England Patriots are doing their due dilegence on the top quarterbacks worthy of a first-round pick.

While Patriots executive Eliot Wolf had previously told reporters that the team would meet with the top three quarterbacks in Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, the Boston Herald's Doug Kyed reports New England also will meet with Oregon's Bo Nix and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy -- both currently projected to fall anywhere between mid-first round to early second round.

While most people would like the Patriots to stay at No. 3, there are valid arguments for trading down and stockpiling more picks. If the Patriots don't trade down too far, they might still have a chance to select a second-tier QB such as Nix or McCarthy in Round 1.

While former Wolverine Tom Brady may be considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history, it was McCarthy that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh dubbed the greatest quarterback in college football history. In his junior season, McCarthy threw for 2,991 yards, logging 22 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions with a 72.3 percent completion rate. Since taking over as the full-fledged starter in his sophomore season, the mobile QB led the Wolverines to a 27-1 record.

While some question McCarthy's experience -- he started the fewest number of games out of the top 100 QB's eligible for the draft -- Nix offers plenty with an NCAA-record 61 starts. Starting as a true freshman for Auburn back in 2019, Nix logged three impressive seasons before transferring to Oregon, where his stats skyrocketed. This past season, Nix posted 4,508 yards on a record-setting 77.4 percent completion rate, throwing for 45 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

Skills aside, the biggest difference between the two comes down to age and potential. With McCarthy, the Patriots would get a 21-year-old athletic QB with room to grow and develop. Should the Patriots take McCarthy, the team could look to sign an older and more experienced signal-caller in free agency, letting the Michigan product take his time to learn, develop, and adjust to the NFL level.

Nix is already 24 years old and would give the Patriots a more polished product right out the gate, but he is limited by his inability to truly stretch the field -- his 6.8 average air yards per throw ranked second-to-last among draft eligible QBs.