Two top QB prospects might be on the Patriots’ radar

The New England Patriots are doing their due diligence on top NFL draft QB prospects in case they decide to move on from Mac Jones in 2024.
Oregon Ducks QB Bo Nix is averaging nearly 300 yards passing and three touchdown passes per game through five starts.
Oregon Ducks QB Bo Nix is averaging nearly 300 yards passing and three touchdown passes per game through five starts. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

After being benched for the second week in a row, the media asked New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick who will be the starting quarterback against the Las Vegas Raiders, Belichick stood by Mac Jones.

That might only be for 2023.

According to WEEI’s Mike Kadlick, the Patriots will have scouts in attendance for Saturday’s Oregon-Washington game. This matchup features two of the top quarterback prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Quarterback could be the New England Patriots’ top draft need if Mac Jones’ struggles continue

New England likely will have a lot of needs come next April. The offensive line is a glaring problem, as is the need for a true number-one wide receiver.

The Patriots will be looking at many players while watching the Ducks and Huskies face off, not just quarterbacks. They could be taking a closer look at Washington’s Rome Odunze, a 6-3 210-pound receiver considered a first-round prospect.

But certainly, New England will be taking notes on Penix Jr. and Nix. Both are putting up enormous numbers in the Pac-12 this season as they lead prolific offenses.

They have similar builds (6-3, around 215-220 pounds) and powerful arms, a trait that Jones lacks.

Nix adds an athletic element, as he’s a willing runner. Last year, Nix rushed for a career-high 510 yards and 14 touchdowns.

A marquee matchup of two elite field generals will draw a lot of attention. Expect a lot of NFL scouts to be in attendance. And while Penix Jr. and Nix are the headliners, both teams are loaded with draft-worthy potential.

And Belichick isn’t afraid to draft QBs, even when he has an established starter. Just ask Tom Brady about Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett.

Bailey Zappe may have been selected to push Jones to greater heights during practice, but Jones has regressed, and Zappe failed to threaten Jones. If Belichick remains with the New England Patriots in 2024, he could draft someone new to compete with Jones for the starting quarterback role.

If not outright replacing Jones in 2024.