New England Patriots

Should Patriots consider following Cardinals' bold draft trade model?

Arizona swung a pair of first-round trades from the No. 3 spot last season.

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The New England Patriots' options in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft mostly have centered around two scenarios: keep the No. 3 pick and take a quarterback, or trade down to stockpile more selections.

But is there a middle ground worth exploring?

ESPN's Adam Schefter floated an interesting scenario Monday morning, writing that some in NFL circles are wondering if New England might "make a play like the (Arizona) Cardinals, who made two trades in Round 1 a year ago."

"If the Patriots opt to trade out of No. 3, they could follow a similar path as Arizona to get a quarterback they covet," Schefter wrote.

In case you're not up on your Cardinals draft history, here's a refresher on the deals Arizona pulled off from the No. 3 spot in the 2023 NFL Draft:

Trade No. 1 with Houston Texans

  • Cardinals receive: No. 12 overall, No. 33 overall, 2024 first-rounder, 2024 third-rounder
  • Texans receive: No. 3 overall, No. 105 overall

Trade No. 2 with Detroit Lions

  • Cardinals receive: No. 6 overall, No. 81 overall
  • Lions receive: No. 12 overall, No. 34 overall, No. 168 overall

Cardinals' net result

  • Cardinals receive: No. 6 overall, No. 33 overall, No. 81 overall, Texans' 2024 first-rounder (No. 27 overall), Texans' 2024 third-rounder (No. 90 overall)
  • Cardinals give up: No. 3 overall, No. 34 overall, No. 105 overall, No. 168 overall

This didn't end up being a groundbreaking move for the Cardinals, who took an offensive tackle (Paris Johnson Jr.) at No. 6 in 2023 while the Texans took Will Anderson at No. 3. Arizona picked up two valuable 2024 draft picks from Houston, but their first-rounder won't be until No. 27 after the Texans made the playoffs in 2023.

In theory, though, the Patriots could pull off a very similar scenario in 2024. The Minnesota Vikings reportedly are exploring trading up to draft a quarterback, so they could send New England their two first-round picks (No. 11 and No. 23) in addition to future first-round pick(s) to land the No. 3 selection.

The Patriots then could turn around and deal one or both of those 2024 first-rounders to either the Cardinals (who own the No. 4 pick), Los Angeles Chargers (No. 5) or New York Giants (No. 6) to trade back up and take a QB if one of Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy is still on the board.

The risk in this scenario, of course, is whether any of those QBs slip past No. 4. McCarthy has rocketed up mock draft boards, and as our Phil Perry reported earlier this offseason, it's very possible the top four picks in the draft are quarterbacks. So, unless the Patriots can trade back up for the Cardinals' No. 4 selection, there's no guarantee they'd have the chance to take a QB they covet, even if they move up to No. 5 or No. 6.

Right now, the most likely scenario is that de facto general manager Eliot Wolf and his staff "stick and pick" a QB at No. 3. But if one draft-week trade goes down in New England, it's worth considering whether another domino will fall.

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