When a team is bad enough to land a top 3 pick in the draft, the assumption is they will take a quarterback with their selection to rebuild their offense around the most important position on the team. Given the situation the Patriots have been in since Tom Brady left four years ago, it has been the assumption they will follow that plan.
Jerod Mayo nearly said as much within hours of being named the new head coach, hinting at his desire to draft their next franchise player.
However, some analysts have speculated about the possibility of the team choosing to trade down if they don't like the quarterback left on the board by the time they're on the clock or even just to add more picks to bolster their team.
There has also been talk of Mayo forgoing taking a quarterback this year in favor of drafting other critical needs on the offense, like the offensive line and wide receivers, ultimately deciding to use a bridge veteran until next year.
But according to a new tweet from NFL draft expert Daniel Jeremiah, that may no longer be an option.
Before the combine later this month, the top players at the position who are considered far and above the rest are Drake Maye and Caleb Williams. The assumption once it was clear the Bears and Commanders would have the top two picks was the two quarterbacks would be the first ones off the board. That leaves the Patriots with whoever is left, which is said to be LSU's Jayden Daniels.
That may change with the results from the Combine, as some believe J.J. McCarthy and Michael Penix Jr. will rise in the rankings. But if that doesn't happen and the Patriots aren't thrilled with Daniels, they'll have to determine if they're okay with waiting on a quarterback for maybe two years, as Jeremiah claims next year's class isn't that thrilling.
That puts the Patriots in a precarious situation, essentially forcing them to decide if drafting a guy they may not love but is available to take is more worth the risk than completely forgoing taking a quarterback and going with who they currently roster, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe, or a different veteran quarterback.
Perhaps we'll better understand their thinking during free agency, especially if they choose to sign one of the many available free agents.