New England Patriots reportedly plan to draft QB at No. 3

A new head coach and the No. 3 pick in the draft tends to scream “we’re taking a quarterback,” which appears to be exactly what the New England Patriots are planning to do.

This week’s Senior Bowl practices produced “little” reason to doubt that the Patriots will select a quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, The Athletic reported on Friday morning. The report also noted that New England was “already seriously considering” taking a new signal-caller with its first-round pick before this week.

The Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders sit ahead of New England on the draft board.

Working under the likelihood that 2022 Heisman winner Caleb Williams (USC) — who finished his three-year collegiate career with 120 combined touchdowns (93 passing, 27 rushing) compared to just 14 interceptions — goes No. 1 to the Bears, or Chicago trades the pick to a team who ultimately Williams, the Patriots could wind up with 2023 Heisman winner Jayden Daniels (LSU) or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

Daniels finished 2023 with 4,946 combined yards (3,812 passing, 1,134 rushing), 50 combined touchdowns (40 passing, 10 rushing), four interceptions and a 208.0 passer rating, while completing 72.2% of his passes; Maye averaged 4,538 combined yards (3,964.5 passing, 573.5 rushing), 39 combined touchdowns (31 passing, eight rushing) and eight interceptions per season from 2022-23, while finishing with a career 154.1 passer rating and completing 64.9% of his passes.

The Athletic noted that quarterbacks and 2023 Heisman finalists Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Bo Nix (Oregon) each “struggled” this week in Senior Bowl practice.

[Senior Bowl gives scouts close look at several well-traveled QBs]

Patriots quarterbacks Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe each struggled for the bulk of this season. Across the 11 starts that he made, Jones finished with 2,120 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 77.0 passer rating, while completing 64.9% of his passes. Excluding the interception total, the aforementioned outputs were all career worsts for Jones.

What are the expectations for Jerod Mayo as Patriots head coach?

What are the expectations for Jerod Mayo as Patriots head coach?

Zappe, who appeared in 10 games and made six starts, posted a 68.7 passer rating and threw nine interceptions, while completing just 59.9% of his passes. Furthermore, New England averaged just 276.2 total yards (30th in the NFL) and 13.9 points (tied for 31st) per game. 

New England hired former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt to be its new offensive coordinator under new head coach Jerod Mayo. The Patriots went 4-13 this season, their worst season since 1992 (2-14).

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