Report: Patriots' decision likely down to these two QBs at No. 3

Report: Patriots' decision likely down to these two QBs at No. 3 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's becoming clearer which options the New England Patriots will have when they're on the clock with the third overall pick in this month's NFL Draft.

Barring a trade down, the Patriots are widely expected to select one of the top quarterbacks available: LSU's Jayden Daniels, UNC's Drake Maye, or Michigan's J.J. McCarthy. One of them will likely be taken by the Washington Commanders at No. 2, leaving New England with a pivotal choice to make between two signal-callers.

On the latest episode of his podcast, ESPN's Adam Schefter provided intel on which QBs will be on the table for New England at No. 3.

“The signs continue to point to Jayden Daniels going number two to Washington," Schefter said. "That would mean Caleb Williams goes one, Jayden Daniels goes two, and that would bring us to New England, which I think would have a decision to make as to whether it would take either Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy."

That's good news for Pats fans, who voted Maye as their preferred quarterback in Phil Perry's crowd-sourced mock draft. However, McCarthy-to-Foxboro rumors have gained plenty of steam lately. A recent report suggested Patriots de facto general manager Eliot Wolf is "pushing hard" for the team to draft McCarthy at No. 3. Our Michael Holley said on Boston Sports Tonight there's a "really good chance" McCarthy lands in New England.

As for the possibility of trading down for a haul of assets, Schefter doesn't currently see a scenario in which that happens.

"A lot of people are talking about New England moving out of that spot. I don’t know about that," Schefter added. "I’m not gonna tell you then won’t, of course they would for the right offer, but I think it’s gonna be challenging. I think for New England to trade out of that spot today, two weeks out, it's unlikely to happen. Because they're going to have to move back into a spot where they would lose out on the quarterback that they'd want, and there's going to have to be a team that has to give up a lot to get up to number three. ...

"So I think the first three teams stay where they are in all probability, and I think in all probability it goes Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, New England’s choice of QBs.”

Whatever decision the Patriots make will have massive implications for the franchise's future. The team is coming off a disastrous 4-13 campaign that resulted in longtime head coach Bill Belichick's departure and 2021 first-round draft pick Mac Jones getting shipped to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason. The offense needs a major overhaul, and finding a capable quarterback is the first step to reviving New England's reputation as a perennial contender.

Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft is set for April 25.