Patriots using J.J. McCarthy as smoke screen to get what they want in NFL Draft

December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during
December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during / Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY

There are two weeks until the 2024 NFL Draft, which means it's prime lying and manipulation season. With the Patriots holding the third pick in the draft, they are at the forefront of it.

Because the two teams ahead of them are also in need of a quarterback, New England is getting into the sneaky tactics that most teams in their position would use in hopes of manipulating the decisions of those before them.

Their latest tactic appears to be using Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who has risen in the rankings over the last several weeks after being considered a second-round prospect. 

In recent weeks, the Patriots have been discussing the possibility of taking the Michigan alum third overall, which is interesting considering they have not been connected to him during the whole draft process thus far. This prompts the conclusion that they are using the quarterback as a smoke screen to get what they want.

There are two possible outcomes for what the Patriots are trying to get out of using the National Champion quarterback as bait.

One could be that the Patriots are afraid the Washington Commanders are going to take the quarterback that they have their eyes on in the draft, whether it's Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye. Let’s say the Commanders have McCarthy high on their board, the Patriots' “strong” interest in McCarthy could entice the Commanders to grab him.

This would leave either Daniels or Maye available to the Patriots at three.

I don’t see the fit with McCarthy and the Patriots, though, because he has similar traits to Mac Jones who clearly did not work out in Foxboro. If I had to guess, I think the Patriots are targeting Maye and are hoping that the Commanders don’t take him.

The other possible outcome is that the Patriots are pumping up McCarthy to get a team to trade up and overpay for him. Throughout NFL history, desperate teams have given up everything to get a franchise quarterback, and history is bound to repeat itself this year, too.

There are rumors that the Minnesota Vikings are interested in McCarthy, which could be huge for the Patriots. Getting the Vikings to give them an offer that's too good to pass up could help expedite the rebuild process.

Ultimately, seeing how the McCarthy saga plays out for the Patriots on draft night will be interesting.

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