New Patriots Comments Add to No. 3 Pick Trade Rumors

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo answers questions from
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo answers questions from / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Smokescreen season is upon us in the NFL. With the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25 rapidly approaching, the top of the draft board has essentially become a giant cat and mouse game as each front office evaluates how to best position their organization for future success.

Holding the third overall pick, the franchise's highest since 1993, the New England Patriots are right at the center of that game.

Speaking to Steve Wyche of NFL Media, head coach Jerod Mayo was asked if the Patriots were "dead set" on selecting a quarterback with their first pick in next month's draft:

"It’s the priority right now, but with that being said, you have to really be in love with the guy to take him at No. 3. So really all the options are still open for us."

Patriots Head Coach Jerod Mayo

In his first day on the job, Mayo seemingly guaranteed that the Patriots would be looking to draft a quarterback at three, but he has appeared to have since better grasped the clandestine operating nature of NFL teams and played his cards closer to the vest.

Mayo also confirmed that Jacoby Brissett "could absolutely be our starter". The widespread assumption is that the Patriots intend to use the veteran as a bridge quarterback for a season while their rookie quarterback develops behind the scenes. Brissett, a New England third-round pick in 2016, reunited with the Patriots on a one-year, $8 million deal back on March 11.

The Minnesota Vikings have been a team frequently linked to a potential trade with New England for the third overall pick. Minnesota holds two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, with the Vikings slated to select at 11th and 23rd. Patriots director of college scouting, Camren Williams, even poured a little fuel on that fire with some interesting Twitter activity.

A potential trade down in the draft will almost assuredly hinge on how New England ranks the quarterbacks in this class, and the gap that they perceive to be between each signal caller.

What if the Patriots are enamored with Drake Maye and not with Jayden Daniels, and then Maye goes second overall and New England is now on the clock? Or vice versa?

Is New England now more inclined to move that pick with their preferred QB off the board? Is Minnesota, or even another team, now more motivated to shoot up the draft board with "their guy" now available for certainty? There are just so many variables that only time can reveal, so don't be surprised if there is some eleventh hour movement.

After the NFL Combine at the beginning of March, Albert Breer of the MMQB reported that the Patriots had turned down offers from other franchises looking to move up.

As Breer noted and was mentioned above, the availability of the third pick will likely continue to be a fluid situation, but his reporting does provide Patriots fans with a baseline understanding of where the team stands now. Until draft night in Detroit has come and gone, there are really no guarantees.

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