When skimming through the countless mock drafts on the internet, it's becoming abundantly clear what position the Patriots are most likely to pursue with their third overall pick: quarterback. Because they haven't had a selection this high in 30 years and need a new signal caller, it makes perfect sense to prioritize the most important position on any NFL team.
There are debates about whether that's the best route since a good chunk of New England fans would love to see Marvin Harrison Jr. in a Patriots uniform next season. But the consensus has Jerod Mayo taking Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye on the first night of the draft.
Not many other scenarios have been explored, perhaps because needing a quarterback is a situation that should be addressed as quickly as possible or even because the serial trade-down artist Bill Belichick is no longer in the building.
However, a new mock draft from NBC Sports Chicago has the Patriots making an unexpected trade with the Bears to acquire both top positions of need in the top 10: quarterback and wide receiver.
What if the Patriots pull off the ultimate heist in the 2024 draft?
In this mock draft by Glynn Morgan, the Patriots trade away the third pick to the Bears and get a young but experienced quarterback in exchange, along with the 9th overall selection and a sixth-rounder next year.
Instead of drafting their next franchise quarterback, they decided to give Justin Fields a chance, who has mostly struggled in a dysfunctional Chicago Bears system.
"Taking a page from the Houston Texans draft playbook, Bears general manager Ryan Poles potentially devises a trade package that could position Chicago into the third overall spot. New England is last in a competitive AFC Eastern Division dominated by pro bowl caliber quarterbacks (Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers and Tua Tagovailoa). The Patriots’ new head coach (Jarod Mayo) has a veteran unit with 19 unrestricted free agents this year and 20 slated for 2025.
"It’s possible Poles sense New England’s need to win now and trades quarterback Justin Fields, Chicago’s ninth pick in the first round and its sixth-round pick in 2025. In return, the Bears receive New England’s third overall pick, its 103rd pick (4th), and 2025’s third and fifth-round spots."
The reaction to this trade would likely be mixed, especially considering how much the Patriots give up to get Fields. But not giving up their first-round selection seems like an ideal scenario that benefits both teams.
This would also seem to indicate Mayo's intention of trying to win as soon as possible by bringing in a young player who needs some better coaching and development, but has the experience that a rookie couldn't bring to the table. How Fields will fare in the NFL during his career is hard to say, and based on the reactions of his teammates, it's clear he's appreciated and respected in the locker room.
However, it could be another situation where he needs to move on to another team to become the best version of himself, similar to what some believe is what is best for Mac Jones.
The best part about this trade is the Patriots address both top needs early
With their new pick of 9th overall, Morgan has the Patriots taking one of the top receivers in the class,
LSU's Malik Nabers. He may not be Harrison Jr., but a scenario in which they leave the draft with a new quarterback and a top receiver prospect seems like a win/win.
"The Patriots might exchange its third pick with Chicago’s ninth overall selection, a sixth-round pick in 2025, and quarterback Justin Fields to challenge their divisional rivals better. New England would receive an immediate upgrade at quarterback, acquiring a dynamic playmaker to compete with the other spectacular signal-callers in the Patriots’ division. In the potential trade with Chicago, New England would move down several spots and possibly select Nabers to enhance a moribund receiving corps."
Depending on how Mayo wants to address the offense, which is hard to even hypothesize about when they still don't have an offensive coordinator, this scenario could be a good way to go. Not only would they not have to start all over at quarterback, but they would also get the second-ranked receiver of the entire class, only one spot behind Harrison Jr.
Then, they could easily snag a top offensive tackle with their second-rounder since the class is said to be deep this year and address the rest of the offense in the following rounds.