3 positions the Patriots could double-dip in the 2024 Draft 

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) scrambles with the ball while defended by UConn defensive
Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) scrambles with the ball while defended by UConn defensive / Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY
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It was the most underrated of philosophers, Snoop Dogg, who once said, "If you stop at general math, then you will only make general money." But you only need general math to realize that the Patriots roster needs some extra bodies.

When free agency began last month, 23 players' contracts expired (10 are still on the free-agent market). The Patriots did re-sign five players, but they have only added nine new faces. If you subtract 14 from 23, you're left with nine spots that need to be filled.

They do have eight picks in the upcoming draft, so that will help, but it seems like they will have to sign some undrafted free agents to fill the remaining spots. But what positions should they focus on in Detroit?

3 positions the Patriots could double-dip in the 2024 Draft 


Either the Patriots are setting up one of the biggest smokescreens of all time, or they are definitely set on taking a quarterback with the third overall pick. It certainly appears that both Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels will be off the board by the time the Patriots are on the clock, so it’s out of Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy. 

J.J. McCarthy makes the most sense at 3. You could argue he was playing with better receivers in college than he will be in Foxborough; that’s probably why he was able to anticipate where the receiver would be when he released some of his passes. Some of his completions had shades of Tua Tagovailoa throwing to Tyreek Hill.  

But, even removing the pass catchers from the equation, McCarthy is more versatile than every quarterback except Williams. He can throw deep passes, check down to running backs, run RPO plays, and sell play-action handoffs to running backs, too. He ran flea-flicker plays in college and designed QB run plays (his 4.60 40-yard time was in the 90th percentile at the combine).

He even has the ability to scramble and avoid pass rushers, although avoiding pass rushers in college is simpler than avoiding NFL pass rushers. McCarthy can even throw accurately off his back foot; he shouldn’t, but he still can.  

He is a 21-year-old quarterback, though, so he isn’t perfect (32-year-old quarterbacks are rarely perfect). The official Michigan website says he is 6 feet 3 inches (maybe in his cleats), which seems generous. He does tend to run backward to avoid pass rushers.

That rarely works in the NFL; it only works now and then for Kyler Murray, who has center-fielder speed. With what promises to be clunky Patriots offensive line blocking for him, he’ll need to learn to step up to avoid pressure or just hold the ball tightly and take the sack.  

Someone who doesn’t have any problem stepping up to avoid pressure is Joe Milton III.

However, Milton III is almost the exact opposite of McCarthy and Bailey Zappe, whom he would replace. Two rookie quarterbacks are in a quarterback room with Ben McAdoo, who Eli Manning says “does a good job of teaching the system to the quarterback.” alongside Jacoby Brissett might actually give Patriots fans some much-needed hope.  

The Tennessee alum looks like a great prospect who could take a year or two to develop. He is 6 feet 5 inches tall, which puts him in the 87th percentile for quarterbacks at the combine. Milton III weighs 235 lbs. (16 lbs. heavier than McCarthy), physically Milton III is more Ben Roethlisberger whereas McCarthy is more Baker Mayfield.

Like Roethlisberger when he entered the league, Milton III is very raw. Like Anthony Richardson, he relishes the physical battle. He enjoys trying to flatten defenders who try to tackle him, and that rarely works out well. Also, like Roethlisberger, he throws one of the prettiest deep passes you will ever see, and he has no problem hanging in the pocket while blocks break down and defenders are flying all around him.

He can lock on to his first read, but he has no hesitation in pulling the ball down and scrambling when receivers are covered. He is an effective running threat, too; there are shades of Cam Newton when he scrambles downfield.

The main drawback of Milton III is that he can’t fit the ball into tight windows and that he sometimes struggles with short and intermediate throws. But he wasn’t playing with an NFL-caliber receiving corps at Tennessee, and not trying to squeeze passes between defenders just seems like good decision-making, especially when you average 3.8 yards per rushing attempt and scored 12 rushing touchdowns in college.

He is expected to be a sixth-round pick, so it’s definitely a case of “nothing ventured, nothing gained” for one lucky GM.