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How real is Pats' interest in J.J. McCarthy? Draft expert offers insight

How real is Pats' interest in J.J. McCarthy? Draft expert offers insight originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels have been the quarterbacks most linked to the New England Patriots with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But according to a new report, de facto general manager Eliot Wolf has another signal-caller in mind.

On Monday, Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda projected the Patriots to pick Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy at No. 3 in his mock draft. He reported that Wolf is "pushing hard" for McCarthy and "believes he has as much upside as any quarterback" in this class.

Pauline is far from the only draft expert to pick up on the McCarthy-to-Pats hype. A handful of new mock drafts have New England selecting the 2024 national champion, whose draft stock seems to have risen signfiicantly over the last month.

So, what's sparking all of these McCarthy rumors just three weeks ahead of the 2024 draft? Pauline joined Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast to share more insight.

🔊 Patriots Talk Podcast: Is J.J. McCarthy now the object of Patriots desire? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"What I heard from other general managers -- not from the Patriots but other general managers -- is that Eliot Wolf, the de facto general manager for the Patriots, is in love with J.J. McCarthy," Pauline said.

"And right now, the feeling is that J.J. McCarthy -- or at least Eliot Wolf is pushing for J.J. McCarthy, and that seems like it's going to be the pick. I could understand the love for J.J. McCarthy. I don't agree with it, but I understand it because whether it's J.J. McCarthy or any of these Michigan kids, they have acquitted themselves well during the interview process."

Pauline adds that McCarthy's leadership skills came across during his pre-draft interviews and that's a big reason why his draft stock has risen lately.

"You watch J.J. McCarthy, he's got great confidence, great moxie on the field. He's a great leader," he said. "I question his physical skills, but that moxie and that confidence has come over in the interview process.

"We saw it with Bryce Young last year for better and worse. If you remember Bryce Young, he was being characterized as a genius during the interview process, and teams fall in love with that type of player. Especially at the quarterback position."

Watch the video below for the full clip of Pauline discussing McCarthy:

Also in the episode: