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New England Patriots ‘like’ specific QB, could pick him third in 2024 NFL Draft

New England Patriots, J.J. McCarthy
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A new era of the New England Patriots has arrived. After 24 seasons and six Super Bowl victories, Bill Belichick is no longer the head coach. Jerod Mayo, a former Patriots player, now takes the reigns with Elliot Wolf acting as the de facto “general manager.”

This is due to New England’s poor 2023 NFL season, which has given it the third pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Patriots have been linked to several quarterbacks with the third overall selection, but a new name has entered the arena. One that has sustained success at the college level.

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Yet, New England signed former Washington Commanders quarterback Jacoby Brissett to a one-year deal in free agency. That won’t stop the organization from drafting a franchise-altering player. In fact, the latest report links the Patriots to a quarterback that fits the mold of success.

According to the Boston Sports Journal‘s Mike Giardi, the Patriots “like” Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and that is known as a “fact.” Giardi also mocked the quarterback to New England with the third pick. McCarthy led the Michigan Wolverines to its first outright NCAA College Football Championship since 1948 during the 2023 season.

The 21-year-old quarterback is one of the youngest players in this year’s NFL Draft class and possesses the physical skills to be good at the next level. McCarthy may not have the statistics of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels, but his 27-1 college record with Michigan shows his ability to lead a team.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft quarterback rankings, see where J.J. McCarthy lands

New England is guaranteed to land one of Maye, Daniels, or McCarthy if it doesn’t trade down from the third pick. Should the Patriots draft McCarthy over the other two franchise quarterbacks? It depends on whether Mayo and Wolf believe he is better than the other two and if the system fits his style of play.

Evaluating J.J. McCarthy’s potential fit with the Patriots

New England Patriots, J.J. McCarthy
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Patriots hired Alex Van Pelt to become their next offensive coordinator, which suggests a West Coast-style offense is on the way. McCarthy would fit within the system with his athleticism, ability to pinpoint the football, and deep throws.

McCarthy has a strong arm, which is sometimes a negative as his short passes arrive to wide receivers faster than expected. Yet, the young quarterback can throw on the run when rolling out to his right side. The left side of the field is a different story, as it wasn’t as efficient at the college level.

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Unlike Maye, McCarthy has good footwork and a better base. After working with Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson, Van Pelt is big on footwork, so it’s not a deal breaker that Maye needs improvement in that area. Yet, McCarthy is already good in that area at 21 years old.

Another factor is that McCarthy wouldn’t need to start unless he beats Brissett for the job in 2024. As McCarthy works with Mayo’s coaching staff, Brissett could serve as the bridge quarterback. Then, McCarthy can take the starting job when he is ready to make the jump.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Should the Patriots draft McCarthy with the third overall pick? There is a lot to love about the former Michigan player, but most view him as the fourth-best quarterback in the NFL Draft. Maye seems to be a better fit than Daniels, so he or McCarthy should be the pick.

However, it doesn’t matter if most people view McCarthy as the fourth-best quarterback. If Wolf and company believe he has the talent to be a franchise quarterback, New England’s de facto general manager won’t hesitate to take him with the third pick.

Also Read: Why the Minnesota Vikings should draft J.J. McCarthy

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