Jerod Mayo casts more doubt on Patriots QB plans with latest comments

The New England Patriots may not draft a quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If they do, don't assume he'll play in his rookie season.
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo is following in Bill Belichick's footsteps. So far, it hasn't been easy. Mayo has gone through some growing pains as a first-time head coach.

At the start of free agency, he noted that the Patriots had "a lot of cap space" and they were "ready to burn some cash." Then, New England missed out on every big-name free agent they pursued.

There was a time when free agents clambered up the walls of Gillette Stadium for a chance to play with quarterback Tom Brady or to be coached by Belichick. Those days are gone now, and Mayo will have to build up his own reputation before free agents agree to play football in Foxborough's frigid winters.

Mayo can take the first step toward building that reputation during the 2024 NFL Draft. New England holds the No. 3 overall pick, which puts them in the driver's seat to select the last remaining prospect from the quarterback trio of USC's Caleb Williams, LSU's Jayden Daniels, and North Carolina's Drake Maye. If the Patriots don't love the last remaining quarterback, they could also elect to trade down.

Patriots may not start their rookie quarterback in 2024

If the Patriots do select a quarterback, there's no guarantee he'll play in his rookie year, ESPN's Mike Reiss reported.

"Look, we could bring a QB in here and he may not be ready to play, realistically," Mayo said. "That's why we have a guy like Jacoby [Brissett] coming along. Jacoby is great. He can still play football and also mentor someone in that room, and he has a connection to that offense with [offensive coordinator Alex] Van Pelt, so he can always be that teacher. That's how we're looking at it."

The NFL has a problem with patience, and Patriots fans should be glad Mayo understands that. Most of the league's greatest quarterbacks needed to sit out their rookie year, even in the modern NFL. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Patrick Mahomes did not start in their rookie years. Other quarterbacks, such as Justin Fields and Zach Wilson, shouldn't have started.

A fan recently told Mayo that the Patriots should be able to find immediate success since the Houston Texans turned things around in their first season with head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. Mayo, however, pointed to Texans general manager Nick Caserio, who has been with the team since he left the Patriots in 2021.

"Remember, Caserio had been building that team for [two] years before they got C.J. Stroud in that position," Mayo said. "So when you look at our team — I'm not asking for patience, but I kind of am. It's a process. It's not only about the quarterback. Obviously you want to have that [quarterback] and build around him, but it doesn't always happen when you want it."

Caserio was not being praised at this point last year. In his first two seasons, Houston finished with a 4-13 record in 2021 and a 3-13-1 record in 2022. The Patriots are just entering their first year with a new front-office regime. While some fans may want Mayo to produce a playoff team immediately, it's not a realistic expectation.

The Patriots have eight picks in the draft, headlined by No. 3 overall and followed by high selections in the second (No. 34), third (No. 68) and fourth (No. 103) rounds. Building a winning team will start with those picks.

Next. Patriots are willing to trade down in NFL Draft, but it comes at a massive price. Patriots are willing to trade down in NFL Draft, but it comes at a massive price. dark