2 reasons for and 2 reasons against Patriots drafting a quarterback in 2024

2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Since it became clear the Patriots were going to hold a top-3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the assumption has been they would inevitably replace Mac Jones with a new (hopeful) franchise quarterback. It has dominated the conversation over the last few months, with the team being favored to land two of the best prospects of the class, alternating week to week.

The new regime under Jerod Mayo has done their due diligence in evaluating all of their options, as they attended all of the top prospects' Pro Days last week, including second-tier prospect Michael Penix Jr.

Amidst the buzz of teams outside of the top-10 selections vying to move up for their next quarterback, a question looms over the Patriots: should they seriously consider being part of a trade-down scenario? This move could potentially open up new possibilities for the team, sparking a continuous debate among fans and analysts.

On one hand, they're in prime position to take a signal caller at No. 3, or even one of the best receivers of the class if they choose to forgo a quarterback. They could also do that by trading with a team like the Vikings, who appear to have loaded up on picks, now holding the 11th and 23rd overall selections, to trade into the top-3, something New England might want to consider.

There are certainly pros and cons to staying put and taking a quarterback or going the other route and waiting to take a player at the position until next year.

Here are two reasons why they need to take a quarterback this year and two why they don't.

2 reasons why the Patriots need to draft a quarterback in 2024

#1. You can't be a successful team without a good quarterback

The most obvious reason they need to take a quarterback this year is simple: no team will ever be good enough without a great quarterback.

Sure, you can get by with average play from an average quarterback, but if the expectation is to be better than average and get back to being the leading force in the NFL, then forgoing a quarterback is not an option this year.

That seems to be what owner Robert Kraft wants to see sooner rather than later, revealing his preference for a QB. Of course, he's not making all the decisions, hence the decision to hire Mayo to succeed Belichick and have Eliot Wolf as the presumptive general manager.

Considering the potential influence of Kraft and the support of taking advantage of their positioning, it becomes clear that drafting a quarterback is not just a good decision but the wisest one.

#2. They're in prime position to take their next franchise star

The last time the Patriots had a draft pick anywhere near third overall was over 30 years ago when they selected Drew Bledsoe with the first pick of the 1993 Draft. Historically, besides the anomaly that is Tom Brady, the most successful quarterbacks are off the board early, making it even more valuable for the team to pick at No. 3.

Because the draft order is based on the success (or lack thereof) of the team's previous season, the desire is not to have such a poor outing that you earn a top-10 pick.

The Patriots are in this position due to their 4-13 record from the 2023 season. However, they are determined not to repeat that disappointing season as they continue their rebuilding phase.

Because of that, it's clear that the team needs to seize the opportunity in front of them and select a quarterback this year.

Four standout quarterbacks are at the top of the draft, with the second-tier players projected to be much further down. While the second-tier players could still go on to have successful careers, the Patriots are aiming for immediate success.

Selecting one of the three top prospects offers them the best chances of achieving this goal as soon as this fall.

2 reasons why the Patriots don't need to draft a quarterback in 2024

#1. Throwing a rookie quarterback into a mediocre offense will be the Mac Jones era all over again

One of the biggest selling points for those who wouldn't mind the team passing on a quarterback this year is avoiding the potentially inevitable fate of that rookie quarterback's campaign in the NFL, which many feel was seen with Bryce Young and the Panthers last season.

Carolina selected their presumed next franchise quarterback with the first overall pick, but because they failed to surround him with adequate talent, Young had a tough year.

The Patriots dealt with a similar situation with Mac Jones, who had a pretty good rookie year, but the failure to add game-changing weapons around him (among many other things) stunted his growth and development as an NFL quarterback. This could have easily been avoided had Bill Belichick properly put together an offensive roster.

Opting to select a quarterback later in the draft or deferring the decision to another year could open the door to 'weaponizing the offense, 'as Eliot Wolf aptly put it. This strategic yet unpopular move would allow the Patriots to bolster their offensive capabilities, allowing them to plug in a quarterback, be it a rookie or a veteran, in a more favorable environment later on.

This would set them up for success far better than how the roster is built currently.

#2. History of quarterbacks taken at No. 3 doesn't make the Patriots' pick look too promising

Looking back at other quarterbacks taken over the years with the third overall pick doesn't exactly provide much assurance that the Patriots will inevitably find a golden-ticket quarterback. It almost proves the complete opposite.

Looking back on the players taken over the last 30 years, the best of the bunch would be Matt Ryan, whom the Falcons selected in 2008. Outside of the former MVP, who never went on to win much during his career, the others are underwhelming and more of a warning against taking a quarterback third overall than anything else.

Of course, every year and every class is different, but history has shown that, more often than not, highly touted quarterbacks coming into the draft don't live up to the hype surrounding them because the draft is a crapshoot.

No matter how good a quarterback was in college, the NFL is an entirely different animal. The talent is better, the players are bigger and stronger, and the environment is tougher, and the Patriots don't want another failure with a first-round quarterback so soon after the last one.

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