New England Patriots

Patriots Hall of Famer makes compelling case for drafting QB at No. 3

"I would go quarterback, absolutely. I would not trade out of it."

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There's been plenty of debate in recent months over whether the New England Patriots should keep the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and take a quarterback or trade down, accumulate more picks and figure out the quarterback position later.

One Patriots Hall of Famer thinks the decision is crystal clear: Draft the quarterback.

“Quarterback. I’d go quarterback because this quarterback draft is so strong," Vince Wilfork recently told Jordy McElroy of USA TODAY Sports. "You don’t know next year what it is. I’m going quarterback because I’m not going to get the receivers. I’m not going to get the top skilled position players coming to my team if I don’t have a quarterback. It’s hard to sell a program and an organization if they don’t have a quarterback.

“You can’t go out and land big receivers in free agency without a quarterback. It just doesn’t happen. I would go quarterback, absolutely. I would not trade out of it. Quarterback is my first pick. We have a lot of them there, and I think we’re going to be okay with the ones that are going to be available. And I would start my franchise back over with getting me a franchise quarterback.”

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Wilfork lays out a pretty compelling case for why the quarterback position should be the priority.

It would probably be difficult for the Patriots to attract premium free agents at the skill positions if the quarterback situation isn't very good. We've already seen that, to a degree. They entered free agency last month with more salary cap space than any team and still haven't made any substantial outside additions on offense.

New England reportedly made a competitive offer to free agent wideout Calvin Ridley but he chose to sign with the Tennessee Titans instead.

Aside from overpaying, how are the Patriots going to lure marquee free agents to Foxboro? What are the selling points? It's not like free agents are going to take less money to come to New England with the hope of winning a Super Bowl. Those days are over, at least for now.

Wilfork also makes a good point about the quarterback class in this year's draft being strong. There are at least three Tier 1 quarterback prospects available -- USC's Caleb Williams, LSU's Jayden Daniels and UNC's Drake Maye. You could maybe throw Michigan's J.J. McCarthy in there, too. He's now being projected as a top-three pick in some expert mock drafts.

The Patriots haven't had a top-three pick since 1993 when they selected Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the No. 1 pick. That selection helped transform the Patriots from a perennial loser to a respectable franchise. They should try to make history repeat in 2024 and take one of these quarterbacks with the No. 3 pick.

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