Report: Patriots exec wants to ‘stockpile' picks in 2024 Draft

Report: Patriots exec wants to ‘stockpile' picks in 2024 Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots will have the opportunity to select a potential franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. And as our Phil Perry reported Monday, if they feel strongly enough about USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels, they should take whichever QB is still on the board.

But New England has a host of other roster needs, which apparently has head of personnel Eliot Wolf mulling another strategy.

In his latest NFL Mock Draft, The Athletic's Dane Brugler reported a league source told him that Wolf "wants to stockpile draft picks" to address the other holes on the Patriots' roster. Brugler's mock draft has New England trading the No. 3 pick to the Falcons for the No. 8 pick, the No. 43 pick and Atlanta's 2025 first-round pick, then selecting Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt at No. 8.

"New England doesn’t address its quarterback need in the first round here," Brugler wrote. "But let’s say the Patriots trade a third-rounder (No. 68) to the Bears for Justin Fields — that would give them a potentially cheaper (and more exciting) 'let’s see if it works' plan as they build up the roster. They still would have two second-rounders this year and two first-rounders next year, which would allow Wolf to upgrade several positions."

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"Take the QB" vs. "trade down" is a fascinating debate with merit to both sides. Williams, Maye and Daniels are viewed as very strong prospects at the game's most important position, and this might be the Patriots' best chance to find their long-term answer at QB. Having a high-end quarterback on a rookie contract is incredibly valuable in the NFL and would allow New England to spend elsewhere on the roster.

The counterpoint is that inserting a rookie QB into a roster largely devoid of talent is a recipe for disaster, as the Patriots just experienced with Mac Jones. And if the team wants to trade down from No. 3, there are some enticing scenarios worth considering.

Perry laid out one of those scenarios in a recent NFL Mock Draft. Like Brugler, he has the Patriots trading for Bears QB Justin Fields, then dealing the No. 3 pick to the Falcons for No. 8, No. 43 and Atlanta's 2025 first-rounder. In Perry's mock, the Patriots take Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze at No. 8, then trade back up into the first round to select Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyler Guyton at No. 16 overall.

In this case, "stockpiling" picks by trading down allows New England to upgrade at QB, receiver and offensive tackle, all while adding a 2025 first-round pick. The trade-off, of course, is that the team would be "settling" for Fields over a high-potential QB like Daniels or Maye.

The NFL Draft is still almost two months away, so it seems like all options are on the table for Wolf and the Patriots regarding their most important draft decision in three decades.