Patriots No. 3 pick: Possible trade-down scenario?
New England Patriots QB Mac Jones, after griddying his way into the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, has been anything but an All-Star in the years since. The circumstances around Jones are worth questioning, and it's worth keeping an eye on how Jones performs if he finds a new setting to play the role of starting quarterback in.
But as it stands, it feels best for both the New England Patriots and Jones to look to a new partnership. With the Patriots owning the No. 3 overall pick, they're projected by most to take a quarterback.
One of Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye is likely to be available, and in an extremely unlikely scenario, Caleb Williams could fall to No. 3 (but really: Don't count on that). But there's never a guarantee that a team keeps its pick, and the Patriots could have some good options to send their No. 3 pick out and trade down a bit while building up its later-round surplus.
Jeremy Fowler reported in a Senior Bowl column that the Patriots are a firm, "maybe" to also draft a QB in addition to the Bears at No. 1. Fowler suggests that the Raiders (No. 13 pick) and Minnesota Vikings (No. 11) are worth keeping an eye on as possible trade-ups (subscription required) to try to get their hands on a new quarterback. The Patriots, of course, would be one of the possible sellers in such a scenario.
On the surface, that comes off as a risky predicament. The upside and floor to the top three quarterbacks in the draft this year are probably higher than anyone they could get at No. 4 or later. But none of these decisions happen in a vacuum.
If the Patriots are feeling good about other ways to fill the QB role -- such as in free agency or the trade market -- maybe they trade back and look to fill a different position with their first-round pick, going the vet route at QB and infusing youth elsewhere. Or, perhaps the Patriots are bullish in another later-round quarterback that the scouting department has done deep dives on.
If the Patriots do trade out of No. 3, they'll be roasted on draft day for it. But remember, it's improper to fully grade a draft until at least a few years in.