Patriots could come out the winners of the draft with this trade

December 31, 2022, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) scarmbles against
December 31, 2022, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) scarmbles against / Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

According to multiple reports, the Vikings and Patriots have been engaged in informal talks about a trade since the Senior Bowl. With the departure of Kirk Cousins, who signed an expensive contract with the Falcons last week, the Vikings need a new quarterback. That need has led them to load up on draft picks in hopes of successfully trading into the top three of the upcoming draft.

The Patriots know that, so they have all the leverage in this scenario. 

The Vikings aren’t owned by David Tepper, though. They aren’t going to ruin their next two drafts for a backup QB. But the Patriots should be able to talk them into trading their 11th pick, a 2025 pick (second round, maybe?), and one of their fifth-round picks (they have the 155th and the 165th picks) for the Patriots third overall pick.

After all, the Vikings need a new quarterback, and the race for Michigan's JJ McCarthy is real. 

Why are the Vikings so desperate to draft a quarterback?

Well, Minnesota won four of the eight games Cousins started in 2023. And that’s not great, but in their next nine games, they only scored three wins! Joshua Dobbs won just two games in Cousins' place. But once defenses saw his game tape, they discovered how to neutralize his talents.  

Then rookie Jaren Hall tried his luck, and he won just one of his starts, but he lost the other one. Hall only threw 20 passes in the three games he played in, and he ended his two starts with 168 passing yards, no touchdown passes, and an interception. He was also sacked four times and only made 14 yards on his six rushing attempts. 

After the Hall experiment, the Vikings turned to the more experienced Nick Mullens, who is not like Hall at all. Mullens completed 100 of his 148 passing attempts and racked up 1,306 passing yards in his three starts. But he threw seven touchdowns with eight interceptions and didn’t win any of his starts. 

Patriots could come out the winners of the draft with this trade

So if the Patriots agreed to a trade with the Vikings, swapping first-rounders to start, who could they draft with the 11th overall selection?

Well, there will definitely be some talented offensive linemen available then, like Olu Fashanu, who has fallen down draft boards recently and could be available there, making him an absolute bargain at 11.

Fashanu is 6'6" and weighs 317 lbs., and his run-blocking is fun to watch. He’s what they used to call a “road grader,” any defender who is ahead of him won’t be for long once he gets going. He just manhandles them out of his way, leaving a very clean lane for the running back. Because of that, PFF graded him as the best pass protector in college football last October.

They could even draft receiver Brian Thomas Jr. At 11 or maybe even tight end Brock Bowers. 

But if they want a quarterback, waiting until the fifth round would lead them to an intriguing choice in Tennessee's Joe Milton. He is being touted as this draft class's CJ Stroud, as he has a similar combination of confidence and poise and makes the best decisions in the class.

If that's not their direction, taking Washington wide receiver Tahj Washington or UNH running back Dylan Laube would be a good choice with the 155th pick.

Washington averaged 17.9 yards per touch as a senior at USC. And Dylan Laube is considered this year’s Chase Brown. The University of New Hampshire running back is just 5 feet 10 inches tall and 207 lbs. But he scored 16 touchdowns in 2023 and averaged 10.3 yards per catch out of the backfield! 

They would all improve a Patriots offense that needs a lot of work. 

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