Under-the-radar quarterback should be favored for the Patriots, not Jayden Daniels

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” The truth about rookie quarterbacks is they won’t win you a Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean they can’t breathe life into a franchise that seems to be on its last legs. Just ask the Texans. Of course, they had a vibrant new coach with an infectious enthusiasm.

It remains to be seen if the Patriots have the same in Jerod Mayo. Although they were both linebackers for the team, they now lead. 

There’s been a lot of noise regarding the Patriots’ chance to draft a star quarterback in April. But Mac Jones’ departure doesn’t seem a fait accompli; in fact, Robert Kraft seems pretty taken with him as the starter.

That noise reached a peak this week when several writers decided drafting Jayden Daniels would fix the Patriots. Although Patriots Wire decided New England needed to trade up and acquire the first overall pick from the Bears.

But that’s a pretty mind-blowing plan, so we’ll gloss over that. 

Drafting Jayden Daniels would be interesting, especially if they hire an offensive coordinator from Sean McVay’s coaching tree. McVay’s offense is more about pre-snap motion than the quarterback just high-tailing it and running for chunk plays. Daniels draws comparisons to Lamar Jackson (although that was from one of Daniels’ coaches, so he’s hardly impartial), which seems to be a crucial part of his game.

Daniels led the Tigers with ten rushing touchdowns last season, three more than running back Logan Diggs. 

Daniels is an elite passer too, but so are five other prospects headed to the draft. One thing that stands out when you look at Daniels’ passing stats from the past season is that just two receivers caught 55% of LSU’s passes (13 other players caught at least one).

Daniels didn’t throw all of LSU’s passes in 2023 but was responsible for 83% of them. Instead, it suggests that he locks onto his primary receivers, which will not cause NFL defensive backs much of a problem.  

Last season, he spread the ball around a bit more, but Malik Nabers and Kayshon Boutte still caught 37% of the passes. If Daniels does go in the first round (and he’s a quarterback, so some owner or GM will undoubtedly reach for him), it’ll be due to his eye-catching athleticism.

He has reportedly run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, but you know who else ran a 4.5 40-yard dash? Bryce Young. Daniels is much bigger than Young, but if he lands somewhere that pass protects as poorly as Carolina, it might take a while for Daniels’ game-changing talent to emerge. 

The Patriots should take a good look at how J.J. McCarthy would fit their new offense in 2024

Someone who shared the passes out more in 2023 is JJ McCarthy, who was being coached by former NFL quarterback John Harbaugh, which undoubtedly helped.

Last season, 54.4% of Michigan’s passes were caught by three different pass catchers. This doesn’t seem like a huge difference, but there aren’t many defenses with three elite coverage guys. 

McCarthy isn’t just going to hang in the pocket and throw passes, though. He’s a mobile quarterback who excels outside the pocket. Last season, he scored three rushing touchdowns, while Wolverine running back Blake Corum had 27, so McCarthy didn’t have to tote the rock very often. 

The most appealing part about drafting McCarthy is he’s being projected as a second-round pick by some experts. The Patriots do need another quarterback; there are currently only two on the roster. With one injury, they will have to scrabble around for any available replacement. But there are far more pressing needs.

If, by some miracle, Marvin Harrison is still available at three, they have to take him. Then they’ll have four years to find a quarterback who can get the best receiver in the league, the ball. Seriously, that guy is Justin Jefferson.

But if the Bears had used their pick wisely and taken Harrison Jr.

The Patriots will desperately need offensive tackles with both Trent Brown and Michael Onwenu seemingly set on leaving. With Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu ranked 4th and 5th on the Tankathon Big Board either of them would be a welcome addition. 

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