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Perry's Draft Grade: Patriots' gamble on QB Joe Milton could pay off

Perry's Draft Grade: Patriots' gamble on QB Joe Milton could pay off originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots raised quite a few eyebrows with their second-to-last pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Patriots selected Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III in the sixth round (No. 193 overall) despite using their top pick (No. 3 overall) on UNC quarterback Drake Maye. New England now has five quarterbacks on its roster between Maye, Milton, Jacoby Brissett, Bailey Zappe and Nathan Rourke.

Milton comes with plenty of concerns -- NFL.com's Lance Zierlein describes Milton's lack of placement on deep balls as "disturbing" -- but the 24-year-old also has tantalizing upside, with size (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), athleticism and arguably the strongest arm in the entire 2024 draft class.

After spending three years at Michigan as a backup, Milton came to Tennessee in 2021 and won the full-time starting job in 2023, racking up 2,813 passing yards and 20 touchdowns to five interceptions in 12 games. He added 299 yards and seven touchdowns in the running game, as well.

While drafting another QB certainly wasn't a priority for de facto general manager Eliot Wolf and his staff, our Patriots Insider Phil Perry is a big fan of New England taking a big swing on Milton.

"A late-round dart throw on this 6-foot-5, 246-pounder doesn't seem like all that bad of an idea despite the fact that the Patriots invested the No. 3 overall pick in quarterback Drake Maye," Perry said in his breakdown of Milton in the video above. "His size and arm strength allow him to put the football wherever he needs to in any conditions, and as a runner, he is always a threat for an explosive play.

"Coming from an air raid offense in Tennessee, it may take some time for Milton to become a more anticipatory thrower and his accuracy can at times be scattershot. But if the Patriots coaching staff believes that it can rein in Milton's talents and make him a more efficient passer, he's certainly worthy of this late-round gamble. That's why the grade for this pick is an A."

Fittingly, the Patriots drafted Milton with the pick they acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Mac Jones trade. By essentially swapping Jones for Milton and pairing the rookie with Maye, New England at the very least made its QB room more exciting in 2024.

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