Patriots Talk Podcast

The great Patriots debate: Draft a QB now, or build out roster first?

What's more important: The driver or the car?

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One of the most important decisions in New England Patriots history is looming around the corner. And depending on who you ask, there's no clear direction to take.

The Patriots own the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, guaranteeing them the opportunity to select one of three highly-touted quarterback prospects in USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels.

Patrick Mahomes is the shining example of a superstar QB being a difference-maker after guiding the Kansas City Chiefs to their second straight Super Bowl title. By that logic, New England should draft whichever QB is available at No. 3 and build around him, even if the first few seasons might be rough sledding with a roster lacking high-end offensive talent.

But if the Patriots draft a QB at No. 3, are they setting him up to fail? Should they bolster key positions like offensive line and wide receiver first -- perhaps by trading down to acquire a massive haul of draft picks that could include a 2025 first-rounder -- and then insert the QB into that revamped system, similar to what the San Francisco 49ers did with 2022 seventh-round pick Brock Purdy?

Our Patriots Insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry are on two different sides of that fence and got into a spirited debate on a new Patriots Talk Podcast.

🔊 Patriots Talk: The "FIND THE GUY" vs. "BUILD THE TEAM" argument | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"You need a pretty good roster and a great quarterback," Perry argued. "You do need a great quarterback, and there are a handful in the league. Mahomes is generational. He's on a tear all by himself. But there are five or six other guys who I think are capable of winning Super Bowls in this league right now. That's what you need.

"You need a guy who's going to be a top-six or -seven quarterback in the NFL, and you need a good roster. And if your best chance to get the top-six or -seven quarterback is at No. 3 overall, don't wait, because you'll be waiting a long time."

As Perry pointed out, the Niners assembled "one of the best rosters we've ever seen," with All-Pros at left tackle (Trent Williams), running back (Christian McCaffrey), fullback (Kyle Juszczyk), tight end (George Kittle), wide receiver (Brandon Aiyuk), linebacker (Fred Warner) and cornerback (Charvarius Ward). But with Purdy at QB, they still weren't able to overcome Mahomes' immense talent in Super Bowl LVIII.

"That's what you're advocating for," Perry told Curran, "and it's not enough."

Curran countered by noting just how bleak things are in New England right now and highlighting the perils of dropping a rookie QB into that situation.

"There is a very, very compelling argument that a team has to realize who it is and how bad it is, and build the team first," Curran said. "Trade down if you're the New England Patriots. Trade down so you have extra first round picks to move up next year, because you're going to go in there and take Jayden Daniels and it's going to be a little bit of a cluster in Year 1, because you don't have tackles or wide receivers and everybody's in their first year."

"You're not just bringing them into a team with a losing record. You're bringing him into a situation where they don't know their ass from their elbow," Curran added of the Patriots, who have a completely overhauled coaching staff under first-year head coach Jerod Mayo after finishing tied for last in the NFL in points scored in 2023.

"The last guy who was here, the greatest of all time (former head coach Bill Belichick), left this team in a ditch and smoking, especially offensively. Don't you want to get the car back up out of the ditch and on the road first and slam the hood down before you find your new driver?"

For Perry, however, the driver should be prioritized ahead of the car.

"If you're telling me I could have Mario Andretti and he has to drive a jalopy, I'm taking him," Perry said. "I'll say, 'You know what, Mario? We've got the money and the intelligence in our front office to be able to build you a Shelby or build you a Lamborghini. And it might take a year or two. It might take three.

"'We know you're great. But if we don't take you now, we might end up with Tom Curran behind the wheel. And nobody wants Tom Curran behind the wheel.'"

Also in this episode:

  • Is Brock Purdy enough to win a Super Bowl?
  • Can the Patriots follow the Bengals’ blueprint?
  • Why waiting another year to draft a QB does not make sense
  • Making sense of the Patriots waiting until after the draft to hire a personnel lead
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