Arbella Early Edition

James White reveals who Patriots should draft at No. 3, and it's not a QB

White thinks this player is a "for-sure lock" to be successful in the NFL.

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Most people expect the New England Patriots to select a quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, whether it's USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye or LSU's Jayden Daniels.

And it makes sense, right? It's pretty hard to win without good quarterback play. Lackluster performances from Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe were a major reason why the Patriots finished at the bottom of the AFC standings with a 4-13 record in 2023.

But not everyone thinks the Patriots should take a QB.

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Former Patriots running back James White, who won three Super Bowl titles with the franchise, views Marvin Harrison Jr. as a better pick than one of the top quarterback prospects. He thinks the Patriots should take the Ohio State wide receiver with the No. 3 overall selection.

"I'm biased, but I like Marvin Harrison Jr.," White said Friday on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition. "A Larry Fitzgerald-type who is fluid, smooth, big, fast, can make contested catches and run after the catch. He can do everything."

Harrison tallied 67 receptions for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns in 12 games for the Buckeyes this past season. He had eight 100-yard games, including a strong performance -- five catches, 118 yards and a TD -- against the national champion Michigan Wolverines.

White would be content with New England trading back into the first round for a QB, or taking one early in the second round. The Patriots also own the No. 34 overall pick, which is the No. 2 pick in the second round.

"This draft class as far as quarterbacks go is pretty deep," White said. "You could trade back into the back half of the first round, or in the early second round, and get a talented guy maybe like Bo Nix or Michael Penix, somebody who can step in, maybe not right away but midway through the season or (in 2025) and develop the guy."

White isn't totally opposed to drafting a QB with the No. 3 pick, but he thinks Harrison has a really strong chance of being a star.

"You can't go wrong with a guy like Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye at No. 3. I don't have an issue with that," White explained. "I just think Marvin Harrison Jr. is a for-sure lock to be an NFL success at the wide receiver position."

It's the classic "best fit" or "best player available" debate. Harrison is probably a better talent than Daniels or Maye, but the Patriots have a greater need at quarterback than they do at wide receiver.

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