Patriots to Meet With ‘Really Tough Guys,’ Exec Says at Combine

Patriots Executives

Robert Kraft and Patriots Executives

The New England Patriots, who hold the No. 3 overall pick in April’s draft, will meet with three top quarterback prospects, the team confirmed February 27 ahead of the NFL Scouting Combine.

“One thing about the quarterbacks in this draft, specifically, that I’m excited about is they all look like they’re really tough guys,” Eliot Wolf, the team’s de facto general manager, told reporters in Indianapolis. “Which is obviously great at any position, but the quarterback position especially.”

Wolf said the team was scheduled to meet with USC’s Caleb Williams, who is expected to be the top overall pick in this year’s draft, and North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

Wolf: ‘Good Year for Quarterbacks’

Wolf declined to elaborate on the team’s evaluation of the players except to say the Patriots were “pretty early in the process,” with the combine starting February 29 and running through March 3.

“Like, I haven’t met any of these guys; Jerod [Mayo] hasn’t met any of these guys,” Wolf said, referring to the Patriots’ new head coach. “So, as we continue through the process here, we’ll determine what’s best for the team.”

The three prospects top of the list of quarterbacks — including Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. and Oregon’s Bo Nix — who are projected to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft.

“I think it’s a really good year for quarterbacks,” Wolf said. “It’s a really good year at a lot of positions. Like any position, we’re gonna evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to determine who fits for us.

Discussing the Current Patriots QB Room

Much has been discussed regarding the current Patriots QB room and the levels of dysfunction that were reported following the season. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe, both under contract for the 2024 season, face uncertain futures, given their performances in the previous year. Though Wolf refrained from revealing the team’s plans for them, the implication is clear: The Patriots are open to exploring alternatives at quarterback, potentially signaling a significant shakeup in the roster.

“I’d say there’s a lot of options on the table,” Wolf said to reporters. “I’m glad you asked about Mac and Bailey — we’re not going to be a program that’s talking about these guys in terms of through the media. We’re going to do what’s best for the team behind the scenes and the strategy of that is going to be myself, Jerod Mayo, [director of player personnel] Matt Groh. And we’re going to do the right thing for the team.”

Wolf highlights the absence of interference from Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the decision-making process, underscoring the autonomy granted to the team’s football operations department, allowing them to chart their course independently.

Important Decisions Ahead

Regarding the draft, the Patriots possess several options with the No. 3 pick. They could select Maye or Daniels, potentially solidifying their quarterback position for years. Alternately, they could leverage their pick to trade up for Williams. Or they could select a non-QB.

Several mock drafts have New England selecting wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State.

Additionally, the Patriots could explore trading down, acquiring additional draft assets to bolster their roster across multiple positions.

Darren Wolfson of KSTP in Minneapolis said on February 22 the Minnesota Vikings could be interested in a trade and “planted a seed” with the Patriots at the Senior Bowl. And NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said on the February 26 episode of “The Rich Eisen Show” that New England could be considering trading the No. 3 pick to the New York Giants for their No. 6 pick.