Next Pats Podcast

Draft expert Dane Brugler names QB the Pats should pick at No. 3

The new regime in Foxboro has a massive decision to make later this month.

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On April 25, the New England Patriots will have a chance to change the franchise's direction with their first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

At No. 3 overall, the Patriots have their highest pick since they drafted Drew Bledsoe at No. 1 in 1993. They find themselves in a similar scenario 31 years later, in dire need of a quarterback who can help turn around a woeful offense.

With USC's Caleb Williams almost certain to be the first player off the board, the top three quarterbacks likely to be available for New England are UNC's Drake Maye, LSU's Jayden Daniels, and Michigan's J.J. McCarthy. With about two weeks until draft day, there is plenty of debate across the region about what the new Patriots regime should do with their No. 3 pick. Which QB is the best fit? Is trading down the better move?

The Athletic's NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler, author of "The Beast" draft guide, shared his answer to the quarterback question on a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast.

🔊 Next Pats: Why Dane Brugler thinks Drake Maye should be the Patriots' choice at No. 3 | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Drake Maye, he's got the higher grade from me," Brugler said. "I understand both sides. I mean, Drake Maye, a lot of times he felt like he had to wear the superhero cape and make things happen. It put him at a little bit of a disadvantage. And then you have Jayden Daniels who, credit to him, what he did this year: 90 plays of 20-plus yards. So explosive. The improvement he made was really, really evident. And the situation at Arizona State to LSU, having the same play-caller, the same situation two years in a row played a part. He's two years older than Drake Maye, two years more experience, so that plays a part. He also had four NFL receivers including two that will be in this year's first round. All that plays a part.

"And so, it's hard to contextualize when you compare these two players, but I think bottom line, they're both future starters. And when you're drafting a quarterback top five, the goal should not be to find the next Patrick Mahomes. Let's just find a guy that we think can be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Someone who's going to help us compete for the division, compete for the playoffs. And I think you can make a case that all three of these top guys this year can do that."

Brugler also weighed in on whether Maye and Daniels have the mental toughness to play in New England, where wins could be hard to come by for at least a year or two.

"Drake Maye, he benefits from the older brother theory," he said. "His older brothers, big-time athletes, he grew up playing ahead in sports because he wanted to play with his brothers. He had to develop toughness at an early age to keep up with them.

"And then with Jayden Daniels, you think about what he went through at Arizona State. He was a four-year starter in high school, started as a true freshman. Goes to Arizona State, starts as a true freshman. He's had to overcome a lot of adversity in his career as well. So surface level, it feels like both these guys have at least the makings of that mental toughness that you're looking for in a quarterback."

Also in the episode:

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