New England Patriots

Matt Judon makes the case for Patriots trading No. 3 draft pick

"You need pieces around a good quarterback."

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Everyone has an opinion on what the New England Patriots should do with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Including members of the New England Patriots.

Patriots star pass rusher Matt Judon joined NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Thursday and was asked what he thought of New England potentially trading the No. 3 pick to move down in the draft and stockpile additional assets, instead of selecting one of the top three quarterback prospects in USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye and LSU's Jayden Daniels.

It appears Judon is team "Trade Down."

"Come on, let's get more picks. Let's get more offensive weapons," Judon responded, as transcribed by Pro Football Network's Dakota Randall.

Judon specifically advocated for Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, pointing out that Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki both are pending free agents and may not return to New England.

"Both of our tight ends might be leaving. Let's get the tight end from Georgia. Come on," Judon said. "And then maybe we get two picks in the first round. Get some offensive linemen, protect our quarterback. Have guys, move guys around."

Judon stressed he had no inside information about the Patriots' draft plans. But he knows the team has needs at multiple positions -- specifically on offense -- and believes trading down to acquire more draft assets is a good way to address those needs.

"I don't know what (the Patriots are) thinking," Judon added. "I'm just saying, get some guards, tackles, centers, some offensive pieces, some pass-catchers, running backs. Let's do it."

There are some enticing scenarios for the Patriots if they want to trade the No. 3 pick. In Phil Perry's recent mock draft, for example, New England acquires the Atlanta Falcons' second-round pick (No. 43) and their 2025 first-rounder just by trading down from No. 3 to No. 8. Bowers currently is projected to go somewhere in the 10-20 range, so the Patriots would receive an even bigger haul if they moved down further in the first round and drafted Bowers.

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Of course, that means they'd miss out on a potential generational talent in Williams, Maye or Daniels, who are three of the best QB prospects in recent history according to some talent evaluators. But Judon subscribes to the theory that it's more important to build a solid foundation first and then find the QB, as opposed to dropping a rookie quarterback onto an incomplete roster.

"Just sitting back and actually being a football fan, I think (there's) so many quarterbacks that everybody salivates over every year, and sometimes they just don't pan out," Judon said. "Could they be the next big thing? Or could they just have had a great college career? And so, you do that, but then you can get somebody later in the draft, you can get more picks to accumulate more talent and just shore up a team.

"I think a lot of people just always go, 'Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback,' because it's a quarterback-driven league. And if you have a good quarterback, then the core doesn't matter. Like, you need pieces around a good quarterback."

The counter-argument is that it's very hard to win without an elite quarterback, and that New England has a rare opportunity to draft that player without having to trade up. But after seeing a first-round QB (Mac Jones) flame out in front of him, Judon doesn't seem interested in rolling the dice again.

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