Robert Kraft expresses his preference for Patriots' first-round pick

If the owner wants a top young QB, then you draft one.
New England Patriots Press Conference
New England Patriots Press Conference / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The boss is the boss, and when he makes it clear he wants something and you can deliver it, it's usually a good idea to get it for him. In this case, owner Robert Kraft is making it clear that he wants Eliot Wolf to select a quarterback early in the 2024 draft.

Kraft had this to say as cited by,

"'We're gonna be open to whatever can come our way. In the end, I'll let the team make the decision what they think is best. One way or another, I'd like to see us get a top-rate, young quarterback, 'Kraft said Tuesday at the league meetings in Orlando, according to"

One way or another, he wants a top young quarterback. He couldn't have been much clearer, though he qualified it (wink, wink) by saying he'll "let the team make the decision what they think is best."

Or did he qualify it? Reading between the lines, it's clear as day he wants the quarterback early.

What does this then provide to general manager/auditioner Eliot Wolf, shall we say, in the way of guidance for the rapidly approaching NFL draft in late April? There is no doubt here what Mr. Kraft wants, and it behooves Mr. Wolf to comply with the big boss's wishes.

Patriots' owner Robert Kraft was crystal clear on what he wants to see

If Eliot Wolf needed any more inspiration to select a quarterback and one most likely with the third overall pick in the NFL draft, then owner Robert Kraft's comment was all he should require. All the banter and blather in the Boston sports media about trading down, not trading down, etc., is irrelevant. In the final analysis, it all comes down to one thing: Kraft wants a young quarterback, so you'd better get one early if you want to hold onto your job.

Now, the most demonstrative way for Wolf to meet that uber-requirement in his first draft is to take whoever of the top three quarterbacks is left at pick No. 3, or take one of the same if more than one is still on the board. When push comes to shove, it ain't the media that's paying your salary, and it's not them you have to satisfy. It's Mr. Kraft.

Securing that young quarterback can come in different ways. It could be, as noted with that third pick overall. It sure makes sense in light of Mr. Kraft's obvious wishes. Another way would be to trade down a pick or two if you are guaranteed to land one at pick No. 4 or 5 while simultaneously racking up more picks in the process. If he gets one of the top three in that scenario, it's a grand slam home run.

There is also another even riskier option for Wolf, however, if he wants to truly roll the dice. He could land a boatload of picks in return for lower pick/picks and then move differently. This is fraught with peril, however, that could cost him his situation.

Trading the third pick and not taking a quarterback until pick No. 34

That alternative option that Wolf could select would be to trade down somewhat (but not lower than seven) for more picks and select a top starting tackle, wide receiver, or maybe fantastic tight end Brock Bowers. This would have to be accompanied by the selection of the best QB remaining at pick 34 or trading back up into the first round to take one of the secondary QB options.

The options there may be quarterbacks Michel Penix Jr. from Washington or Bo Nix from Oregon. Both have talent, and while not rated at the top three, they are legitimate options for a team that needs help everywhere on offense.

Adding Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu, the top two offensive tackles in the draft, and then Nix or Penix is riskier, but you are still landing an instant starter in the second most important position on the field and a starting QB. But is that the route that Wolf should travel?

Wolf has that tough decision to make. Should he immediately take the boss up on his "suggestion" and take a top-three QB? Or should he try to maneuver the board to get more picks to fill most of the numerous offensive holes that he failed to fill in free agency?

The draft is an art, not a science, though stat-geeks have tried to make it one. And yes, as Ned Ryerson said in the 1993 movie "Groundhog Day,"...Hey, it’s all one big crap shoot anyhoo.”

Indeed, the NFL is littered with failed general managers who took a quarterback high up in the draft who flopped and were quickly ushered out the door.

So, what's the play for Eliot Wolf?

The only plays that make sense in light of owner Robert Kraft's less-than-veiled suggestion are these. You either take a top-three quarterback with pick number three, or if the board falls advantageously and two slip, you trade down a bit, get additional picks, and land the top-three quarterback a bit lower in the draft. Those are Wolf's best options. It will be interesting to see if he chooses one of them.

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