New England Patriots

Report: Patriots' Eliot Wolf ‘pushing hard' for this QB before NFL Draft

Would the Patriots really take J.J. McCarthy at No. 3 overall?

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The New England Patriots might be the most interesting team to watch in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Whether the Patriots trade or keep the No. 3 overall pick in the first round, what they decide to do could impact the plans of many teams in the top 15.

The smartest path for the Patriots to take is selecting a quarterback at No. 3. It's the most important position in the sport and a glaring weakness on New England's roster. Jacoby Brissett was a nice addition in free agency, but he's not a long-term solution at quarterback.

There has been plenty of debate in the last several months about which quarterback prospect is the best fit for the Patriots. UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels are the quarterbacks most often projected to land with the Patriots in expert NFL mock drafts, and one of them will be available when the Patriots are on the clock.

But there's another QB rising fast up draft boards: Michigan's J.J. McCarthy.

In fact, a new report from Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda indicates that the Patriots like McCarthy quite a bit.

"I'm not big on McCarthy being a top-10 selection, but the UM signal caller to New England was the buzz on the pro-day circuit," Pauline wrote in his latest mock draft published Monday, which had McCarthy going to the Patriots at No. 3. "De facto general manager Eliot Wolf is pushing hard for McCarthy, and he believes he has as much upside as any quarterback in this draft."

Watch Mike Felger, Michael Holley and Andrew Callahan react to Pauline's report in the Boston Sports Tonight video below:

Do the Patriots really like McCarthy this much, or is this a smokescreen to distract other teams? It's always hard to tell this close to the draft. However, the Patriots did send several important people to watch McCarthy throw at his Pro Day last month, including Wolf, head coach Jerod Mayo, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and quarterbacks coach T.C. McCartney.

McCarthy went 27-1 with a 68.3 completion percentage, 5680 yards, 44 touchdowns and nine interceptions as Michigan's starting quarterback over the last two seasons. He helped lead the Wolverines to an undefeated 15-0 record and a national title last year, which was the program's first since 1997.

McCarthy is one of the most polarizing players in this year's class. He played well for the Wolverines, but Michigan's offense was very run-heavy. Therefore, McCarthy did not have the same burden on him to carry the offense that other quarterbacks in this class felt. He also does not have the athleticism of Daniels nor the passing talent of Maye.

But that doesn't mean McCarthy shouldn't be a top 10 pick. In fairness, he did make a lot of clutch plays against quality competition last season. Michigan's last three games were wins over Ohio State, Alabama and Washington -- three top 10 teams.

Maye has the best combination of talent, size, athleticism and leadership among the top-tier quarterback prospects (excluding likely No. 1 pick Caleb Williams). Passing on the former UNC star in order to take McCarthy would be a mistake for the Patriots, who cannot afford to get it wrong with the No. 3 overall pick.

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