NFL insider tells Patriots to avoid drafting a quarterback third overall

Ohio State v Wisconsin
Ohio State v Wisconsin / John Fisher/GettyImages

Many people assume the Patriots will draft a quarterback with their third overall pick. Even Matt Judon said he would draft Jayden Daniels if he were the one making the pick.

But there's one very prominent dissenting voice.

It’s difficult to argue with his point.

There are so many talented players in this draft. And no other position on a team is as heavily influenced by the rest of the team as the quarterback is. A good team can help a quarterback develop, but very few quarterbacks can develop a team by themselves (even TB 12 needed Gronk’s assistance to win his last four rings).

As Miller points out, Bryce Young had an incredibly difficult season as the first overall pick in 2023. And, if we’re being honest, nobody knows if he is a good enough player to succeed in the NFL because he was in such a detrimental situation.

He only completed 59.8% of his passes but was sacked 62 times in 16 games! And when he was replaced by 13-year veteran Andy Dalton, Dalton only completed 58.6% of his attempts. So, it seems more likely that the Panthers have a terrible team rather than a lousy quarterback. 

But comparing the 2023 Patriots to the 2022 Panthers is slightly unfair to the Panthers. Even comparing the 2023 Panthers to the 2022 Panthers is probably somewhat unfair, in all honesty. Steve Wilks looked to have stabilized the Panthers in 2022. They won 7 games and finished second in their division.

Both the Patriots and Panthers were dead last in their divisions in 2023, and the Panthers only allowed their quarterbacks (all four of them) to be sacked 36 times in 2022. The 2023 Patriots allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked 48 times. Whatever the Panthers did to their offensive line in 2023 did not work! 

And that seems an apt starting point. Two elite offensive tackles will be available to a team with the third pick in the draft. Nobody seems to agree on whether Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu is the best prospect, but either of them would improve the Patriots' team. 

Another position where the Patriots need more talent and numbers is wide receiver. And this is where the Patriots can learn from the Panthers, not the 2022 Panthers, but the 2023 version. The 2023 Panthers dropped nearly 5% of the passes thrown to them. That seems like a significant number. Elite receivers with a perfunctory quarterback is a better recipe for success than a star quarterback with average receivers. 

Compare Brock Purdy with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Christian McCaffrey to Joe Burrow's 2020 Bengals (pre Ja'Marr Chase). The Bengals went from 4-11 and fourth in their division in 2020 to 10-7 and into a Super Bowl in 2021.

The Patriots will have four receivers headed to free agency in March. And while it seems likely Kendrick Bourne will re-sign, that still leaves them with just six. One of those is Kayshon Boutte, and it seems unlikely he will be available for the start of the regular season (at the very least).

So, unless they spend a lot of money on two or three free-agent receivers alongside re-signing Bourne (and Mike Evans is a free agent in March; that’s the dream), they will have to draft some. That’s a good idea anyway, if only because rookies are cheaper than veterans. And why not draft the best one in the class? 

Marvin Harrison Jr. is a sure-fire star, and that’s not something you can say about any of the quarterbacks in this class. Yes, Caleb Williams is incredibly talented, but he played behind an exceptional offensive line at USC and against some rather average defenses. Harrison Jr. is primed for success.

Even though defensive backs are faster and more disciplined than most college DBs, Harrison Jr. is 6 feet 4 inches tall and 205 lbs.! So, he’s a big guy at any level of competition. And he expects he’ll run a 4.3 40-yard dash. That would make him as fast as Lamar Jackson and the same size as Randy Moss! 

Miller’s assertion that drafting a quarterback isn’t the panacea most fans (and David Tepper) believe is a very salient one. And very easy to agree with, and Eliot Wolf who may be leading the Patriots draft campaign has a history of drafting defensive players in the first round.

So, the Patriots drafting a signal caller with the third overall pick is by no means a given. They could go off-script and trade out of the third spot. But that’s another discussion entirely. 

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