Entering a draft that is top-heavy with quarterback prospects such as Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels, some around the NFL believe the New England Patriots are open to trading away their third overall pick and addressing the position via free agency, ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler report.
Despite New England's dire need for a QB after poor performances from Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe in the 2023 campaign, ESPN cited sources around the league who believe the Patriots could trade down and focus on other positions of need such as their receiving corps and offensive line.
Two teams that are reportedly interested in acquiring New England's third pick are the Atlanta Falcons, who currently own the eighth pick, and the Minnesota Vikings, who currently have the 11th pick.
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The Atlanta offense boasts promising skill position players such as running back Bijan Robinson, wide receiver Drake London, and tight end Kyle Pitts. However, some questionable play calling and personnel decisions led to the Falcons offense struggling under quarterback Desmond Ridder, finishing second-to-last with just 32 touchdowns on the year. Should they believe in their young skill players, bringing in a young quarterback -- likely either Maye or Daniels -- to grow with their core could be a move that moves the Atlanta offense forward in the long run.
As for the Vikings, Minnesota's offense runs through star wideout Justin Jefferson. Despite missing almost half of the season with an injury, Jefferson still managed to log 1,074 yards -- a career-high 107.4 yards per game -- and five touchdowns. Additionally, the Minnesota front office reportedly sees the appeal of pairing Jefferson with QB Jayden Daniels, both of whom logged stellar college careers at LSU. With 35-year-old quarterback Kirk Cousins coming off an Achilles injury and set to be a free agent, the Vikings could see it as the perfect opportunity to bring their organization into the next era.
MORE PATRIOTS COVERAGE
Recent reports have linked the Patriots to Notre Dame's offensive tackle Joe Alt. Paired with this new report, Alt at either eight or 11 -- assuming they make pick swaps with Atlanta or Minnesota -- could be a great way to start building a more improved offensive line for whatever quarterback starts under center next season.
The 2024 QB free agent class is headlined by Cousins, Baker Mayfield, and Jacoby Brissett. New England's new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt worked with Mayfield and Brissett in Cleveland.