New England Patriots

New Patriots OC Alex Van Pelt reveals traits he values most in QBs

Van Pelt values leadership quite a bit at the quarterback position.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The New England Patriots offense could look a lot different next season.

The Patriots hired Alex Van Pelt earlier this month to be their new offensive coordinator. His most important job entering the 2024 campaign is figuring out how to improve a passing attack that ranked among the NFL's worst in 2023.

What traits is Van Pelt looking for when determining who should be the Patriots' starting quarterback next season?

"Smart, tough, and a leader," Van Pelt said at a press conference Wednesday. "You put them in those categories. Obviously there's accuracy in the pass game, mobility, decision-making, there's a lot that goes into it. But at the end of the day, that role is such an important one not just for the offense but the entire team. A guy who's a true leader who can come in and understands his teammates and gets the best out of those guys.

"The physical attributes are obviously important, but if a guy is a great leader, and can come in and make good decisions, and throw the ball accurately, those are all pluses. The guys that I've been around who are great players are often the best leaders and the most competitive guys as well."

The Patriots could take one of several different paths in finding a new starting quarterback. The most obvious one is to acquire a QB with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. There are three top-tier quarterback prospects in this year's class -- USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels -- and one of them will be available to New England when it's on the clock in Round 1.

The Patriots could evaluate the free agent market, too, but outside of Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield, there aren't a ton of good options.

And where does Mac Jones fit in? Could Van Pelt envision Jones being the starter in 2024?

"Really, right now, everything is on the table," Van Pelt said. "As we go through this process the last couple weeks, the last 10 days have just been diving into who we are, trying to evaluate our guys. ... We're trying to understand who we have here, as well as looking at other players out there.

"But right now, everything is on the table. We're still working through that process. When that time comes, I'm sure it'll be a collaborative effort, and we'll make the right decisions."

🔊 Next Pats Podcast: Is it worth it for the Patriots to trade up and draft Caleb Williams? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo is excited about the addition of Van Pelt to the coaching staff, and he really likes the way the former Cleveland Browns OC builds relationships with players.

"He understands the X's and O's of the game but also developing talent," Mayo said at his press conference Wednesday. "And really he is a relationship guy, which I fundamentally believe is very important.

"Before you really get into X's and O's with the guys on the field, they've gotta know that you care about them. And one thing about AVP, which you guys will see here shortly, he is a people person, but also with an extensive knowledge of football."

Contact Us