Repercussions for Patriots passing on QB this year might not be worth it

A New England Patriots helmet sits on a table at Gillette
A New England Patriots helmet sits on a table at Gillette / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some fans don’t want the New England Patriots to draft any top-rated quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft. They firmly believe LSU’s Jayden Daniels or UNC’s Drake Maye will be busts.

There’s another camp that believes the current Patriots roster can’t support a rookie passer. Behind a questionable offensive line and lack of weapons surrounding him, a young face of the franchise is doomed to fail. So it’s better to punt on a passer and wait.

Wait for when there is a bonafide franchise quarterback to enter the draft, or wait until all the pieces are in place for the next face of the franchise to succeed. It’s as simple as that.

But what if things don’t play out as planned?

Take a look at the current starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Most of them were selected in the first round. If the Patriots need a new face of the franchise, they should select one early.

The bad news is that many quarterbacks selected in the first round turn out to be busts. If he’s not the right guy, a team will be right back where they started, but with a new head coach and general manager.

It’s a risk any team will have to make eventually. So, let’s imagine that the Patriots decide to wait.

The point of the New England Patriots having the third pick overall this year is to not have it again anytime soon

On Thursday night, Daniels, Maye, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy will hear their names called, but none are heading to New England.

Instead, the Patriots select either a left tackle or a wide receiver. That way, when they do draft a quarterback, he has sufficient protection or an elite target to throw to. The rest of the draft fortifies the offensive line and puts plenty of weapons for a quarterback to play with.

That quarterback would be Jacoby Brissett. The free agent addition who was supposed to mentor a franchise passer now gets to work behind a solid offensive line and a great supporting cast.

Brissett was just 18-30 as a starter, a .375 win percentage. Included in that record was a 2017 season with Indianapolis, where Brissett went 4-11 and was sacked 52 times. Take away the season Brissett was a Colts piñata, and he was 14-19, a .424 win percentage.

As we know from this year’s draft order, one win could be the difference between the first pick and the fourth. In a worst-case scenario, Brissett and the Patriots finish near .500, similar to Brissett’s 2019 7-8 season.

But let’s be optimistic. A .375 win percentage over 17 games is 6.375 wins, while a .424 win percentage equals 7.208 wins. Six or seven wins drop a team down to selecting between sixth and eleventh. Unless the Patriots can trade up, they’ll miss out on the top quarterback prospects in ‘25.

If the Patriots don't like the 2024 quarterback class, they won't like next year's either

New England might not miss out on much, though. Some analysts believe the 2025 quarterback class won’t be as good as the ’24 class. One scout told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Pete Thamel that, “It won’t be anything close to this year.”

It’s early, so a lot can change in eleven months. But the potential of having a lesser class with a lower draft selection isn’t a promising combination for finding a franchise passer.

Maybe the supporting cast is good enough to support a rookie QB. But if the quality isn’t even as good as last year’s class that was passed on, do the Patriots select a less talented passer?

This requires imagining two possibilities. The first one will skip the 2025 class, with Arch Manning the goal in ‘26. It would require tanking for the season, as other teams would target the generational prospect.

That would mean the Patriots need to go 1-16 or 2-15. Would owner Robert Kraft be happy with having such a lousy team? Regardless of the long-term goal, a record this poor could lead Kraft to clean house and let a new front office and coach select Manning.

Until the Mannings declare Arch won’t play for the Patriots if New England drafts him. There goes your generational field general. Enjoy your quarterback consolation prize.

Option two is selecting a quarterback in ’25, even if he’s not as talented as Oregon’s Bo Nix. With the fully built offense missing a young gunslinger, this new quarterback might start on day one.

Whether this unknown passer starts as a rookie or sits, if he isn’t as good as any of the ’24 passers, he probably leads the Patriots to a losing record, two if Kraft is patient.

At best, the new face of the franchise is mediocre, good enough to make the Patriots competitive for the playoffs, but not championship caliber. Would that be good enough in the long run? Probably not.

Compare that to head coach Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf taking the risk this year. In a worst case scenario, the third pick overall sits for a year, before being proving the doubters right for the next two seasons. By ’27, the Krafts clean house and start all over again.

Passing on a quarterback this year could spell doom for Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf

Rebuilding can be a painful process with zero certainty. And no rebuild is complete until a team finds a quarterback to lead the team. According to Fox Sports Research, a team has a much better chance of finding a great quarterback within the first five selections than you do outside of the first round. If the plan is to be bad enough to draft high in a year or two, that coach and GM might not be around to make that selection.

Franchises don’t want to be at the bottom of the league frequently. Being one of the worst teams in the NFL again usually means someone else gets a chance to turn the franchise around.

Having the third pick overall should mean you don’t want to earn the third pick overall again anytime soon. With the future uncertain, who is confident enough that your guy is a year or two away, and will you be in position to draft him? When that time comes, will Kraft believe in the plan or fear that his Patriots will be on the losing treadmill and change gears?

Kraft just fired Bill Belichick after two losing seasons. You think Mayo will get a longer leash than the coach that led the Patriots to six Lombardis?

Is it better to take a swing at a quarterback this year or wait? If it’s the latter, the owner might make you walk before you get the bat off your shoulder.

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