CBS writer projects Patriots will take a different QB in the first round

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / CFP/GettyImages

It might have been 571 BC when Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Those who have knowledge don’t predict.” However, he might as well have been talking about the mock draft season.

There seems to be a bit of a split between people who think the Patriots will draft Jayden Daniels and those who think they will trade back and acquire more picks. Even Jerod Mayo seemed to juggle those ideas at the AFC coach's breakfast.  

LSU head coach Brian Kelly actually said that Daniels is going to make plays for Washington! Maybe it was a slip-up; maybe it was a hint at the future. Who knows?

But there’s a fresh take on what the Patriots are going to do with the third overall pick, and it comes from CBS’s veteran NFL writer Pete Prisco. In a mock draft from the 28th of March, Prisco has four quarterbacks drafted in the first four picks.

More importantly, he doesn’t have the Patriots trading back.  

Prisco’s mock has the Bears taking Caleb Williams with the first pick (even if he has a pink phone. Seriously, people, what is wrong with you?). No surprises there, then. He has the Commanders taking Jayden Daniels and pairing him with Kliff Kingsbury, and he has strong Kyler Murray in Arizona vibes—so good luck with that, Washington. The third pick is where Prisco gets a bit creative. 

JJ McCarthy has been rising up big boards lately, but you will struggle to find him higher than 9th on most big boards. PFF even has him ranked 28th (which is far too low, but PFF is part analysis, part clickbait). Prisco has JJ McCarthy as the Patriots' next starting quarterback. And while that’s not the worst idea out there, they could easily trade back, score some extra picks, and still draft McCarthy. 

Everyone knows McCarthy won the National Championship with Michigan last year, and as someone who grew up in Illinois, he’d have no problem with the weather in New England.

It has been suggested that Cali kid Jayden Daniels wasn’t looking forward to the conditions on the Eastern seaboard in winter. Luckily, it never snows in D.C. or Philadelphia then! McCarthy is also just 21, so he’s the youngest of the top seven QB prospects.

That might be an odd thing to highlight, but if he’s successful (and if they didn’t think he’d be successful, they wouldn’t draft him), he could be the long-term quarterback solution. And the last time they drafted a quarterback from Michigan, he hung around Foxborough for 20 years, so there’s precedent here. 

McCarthy is an intriguing NFL prospect because his game has no real weaknesses. He’s an accurate passer and has the arm strength to throw deep passes. He’s mobile, but he’s not Jayden Daniels fast, and he can effectively elude pass rushers. His two most impressive traits (especially for someone so young) are how he steps into the pocket to avoid edge rushers.

Remember how the Giants always said the only way to stop Brady was to get pressure up the middle? Well, that’s because when a QB steps up instead of trying to run away from edge rushers, it’s really hard to impact their timing. The second trait is how McCarthy can throw to receivers on timing routes.

It’s what made Tua hard to sack in 2023. They are much less likely to get crushed once the ball is out of the QB’s hand. Releasing the ball before a receiver has made their cut or even looked at their quarterback takes a serious amount of trust in the receiver and self-confidence. 

Here’s where this mock gets weird, though. Prisco has the Vikings trading up with the Cardinals to draft Drake Maye. There’s no way the Cardinals draft Drake Maye; they would be frankly insane not to take Marvin Harrison Jr.

With the two picks the Cardinals receive, they would take Quinyon Mitchell and Jackson Powers-Johnson. That’s completely barmy when Brock Bowers, Troy Franklin, and Brian Thomas Jr. are all still available on his big board. 

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