John Tomase

From Maye to Harrison, what Red Sox would do with Patriots' No. 3 pick

Opinions vary widely in the Red Sox clubhouse on an important decision in Foxboro.

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If baseball players have a second sport, it's generally football. That's partly because so many of them hail from areas of the country where pigskin is king – Texas, Florida, anywhere in the SEC – and also because the skills overlap, but the seasons don't.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a good chunk of the Red Sox clubhouse follows college football as religiously as New Englanders drink Dunkin'. They're glued to their TVs on fall Saturdays, and they know their Troy Fautanus from their Taliese Fuagas in the battle of Pacific Northwest tackles.

As such, a number of Red Sox players are enjoying the same pastime as the rest of us, wondering what the Patriots might do with the No. 3 pick in next week's draft. And they don't lack for opinions.

From the debate of Jayden Daniels vs. Drake Maye vs. J.J. McCarthy at quarterback, to advocates for Marvin Harrison Jr., to one Georgia boy going off the board in favor of Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers, they have thoughts on what the Patriots should do, and they don't mind throwing on their NFL GM hats for a minute and pretending they have all the answers.

"If you get a top-five pick, you've got to get a guy that's going to change the game," said shortstop Trevor Story last month.

Here is how a few of the Red Sox would approach the draft if they were the Patriots.

Justin Slaten: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The Rule 5 right-hander who's off to an excellent start is a Texas native but a Packers fan with strong feelings about how the Patriots should draft and develop a QB. His first order of business would be sitting the pick behind veteran Jacoby Brissett.

"These quarterbacks at the top, Caleb Williams is the only one where you feel like he could come in on Day 1 and go," he said. "The other guys, I feel like they're going to have to sit and learn for a little bit. I'm a Packers fan, so I'm biased to that philosophy."

With the assumption that Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels will go to the Commanders at No. 2, Slaten was left to choose between Maye and McCarthy, and he went with Michigan's national champion.

"I think he's just one of those guys where the game script, people want to talk about him not throwing that much, but why would you when you're beating every team you're playing by 40 in the third quarter?" Slaten said. "I like McCarthy. He's a good mix. He can throw the ball and he's mobile, too. It's not like he's your typical pocket passing quarterback who can't do anything else. I think he gets a negative look because everyone's like, 'They didn't lean on him in college, so why would an NFL team?'

"When he did have to throw it, he was actually really good, going back to the TCU game in the playoffs. Not that TCU was great, because Georgia kind of did them in, too, but he lit TCU up in that second half when they had to throw. I think he gets a bad look because of the situation he was in. If he was in an offense that threw more, he would've gotten a better chance."

The TCU game Slaten's referring to is actually McCarthy's only loss in the last two years, a 51-45 defeat in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl when McCarthy threw for 343 yards and a pair of TDs.

"McCarthy is a winning player," Slaten said. "He's one of those guys where I feel confident saying that he'll be better than a lot of people think."

Tom Curran talks with Michigan head coach Sherrone Moore about how J.J. McCarthy would fit with the Patriots if they select him in the 2024 NFL Draft. Later, Phil Perry joins to discuss the latest news and rumors about what the Patriots will do with the No. 3 pick.

Isaiah Campbell: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Slaten's lockermate and fellow reliever, Campbell, sneered at the mention of McCarthy. "I knew that would piss him off," Slaten joked.

Campbell is skeptical of all the quarterbacks, but recognizes the fact that the Patriots are locked in on taking one. With Williams and Daniels presumably off the board, he'd tab the North Carolina signal-caller – but he wouldn't feel great about it.

"I think some of the top picks, quarterbacks this year, aren't the best," he said. "If I had the third pick and I had to take a quarterback, I'm pretty skeptical on him, but I guess Drake Maye. He looks the part.

"The thing about quarterbacks early is a lot of them have good arms, but some of them come from programs that haven't won a lot. I guess that would be the argument for McCarthy. If you're picking between Drake Maye and J.J. McCarthy, do I think either of them are going to be generational talents? Probably not, but we'll see."

Mel Kiper held a conference call with the media about the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. Phil Perry breaks down what Mel had to say about the top QBs in the draft, and why the WR he has the Patriots drafting in the second round could have big potential.

Trevor Story: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Story is partial to Daniels because before deciding to forgo college and turn pro with the Rockies, Story had committed to play baseball at LSU. But regardless, he likes the idea of the Patriots going for the best non-quarterback available, and in his mind, that's Harrison.

"I'm a big fan of Marvin Harrison, just a big playmaker, an incredible talent," he said. "It used to be that wide receivers didn't come in and have an impact right away, but that's obviously different now. I think that would be an amazing choice."

Harrison's father was a Hall of Fame receiver with the Colts who was good for 100 catches a year in his prime. Junior is even bigger and faster, and a true home run threat.

"You can see the impact he made at Ohio State," Story said. "He's a game-changer, and I think he'll do the same thing in the NFL."

Highlights of standout wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. from Ohio State

Garrett Whitlock: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

A Georgia native, Whitlock makes no bones about his homerism for the best tight end in the draft. Bowers is projected to go somewhere around 10th, perhaps to the Jets to pair with Aaron Rodgers, but Whitlock would like to see the Patriots choose the John Mackey Award winner.

"As a Georgia bulldog loyalist, I'm taking Brock Bowers," Whitlock said. "I know that's a little ambitious for the No. 3 pick, but you see the difference-maker he can be, especially in today's game, you see what a difference-maker a tight end can be when you have to account for them being a blocker and a runner. I think he's just an all-around player who'll open up possibilities for the running game and the passing game as well."

What about trading down for Bowers instead?

"This is why I'm not an NFL GM, but that's a perfect idea," Whitlock said. "They've got him slotted around 11th right now. There you go, trade down and get something in return."

Reese McGuire: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington and Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

McGuire was raised in Covington, Washington, and is therefore a Huskies fan. He'd like to see the Patriots trade down, amass picks, and make the draft's most tempting two-fer by pairing Penix and his consensus All-American wide receiver.

The best way to make that happen would probably be to trade down with Minnesota for the 11th and 23rd picks and then use the first on Odunze and the second on Penix, should he slip after the early run on QBs.

"Penix just has a little bit more of an injury track record, which kind of sucks, because he's so talented," McGuire said. "Some of his injuries, they've been freakish things. But that wide receiver is freakish. Go back to back with them – that would be cool."

Penix briefly appeared to play himself into the top 10 with a monster performance against Texas in the Sugar Bowl, lighting up the Longhorns for 430 yards with 125 of them going to Odunze. But then Michigan badly outclassed the Huskies in the national title game. Regardless, McGuire remains a big Penix fan.

"I like his arm strength," he said. "He put the ball into tight windows and he made good decisions with the ball, didn't force a lot. He's a gamer."

Albert Breer joins Michael Felger and Michael Holley to discuss the Patriots meeting with Washington QB Michael Penix, Jr. with only a week to go until the NFL Draft. Does this signal New England could trade the 3rd overall pick?
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