2024 NFL mock draft roundup: Final first-round predictions for Patriots

2024 NFL mock draft roundup: Final first-round predictions for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It’s almost time for the New England Patriots to make their decision in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

In less than 24 hours, the Patriots will be on the clock with the No. 3 overall pick. It’s the first time since 1993 that New England has owned a top-three pick.

The 1993 NFL Draft was a pivotal one for the franchise. The Patriots went 9-39 in the previous three years combined, including a 2-14 record in 1992. They decided to take Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the No. 1 overall pick in 1993. The decision helped transform the Patriots from a perennial loser to a respectable franchise. Bledsoe helped lead the Patriots to the playoffs in his second season and then the Super Bowl in Year 4.

The Patriots should take a similar approach in 2024 and take a quarterback at No. 3 overall. Sure, there are good cases to make for trading down. But this is a unique year with so many quality quarterbacks available. Whether it’s USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake, LSU’s Jayden Daniels or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy — several quarterbacks in the 2024 class have franchise cornerstone potential. And at least two of those four QBs are guaranteed to be available at No. 3.

It’s enormously hard to win at the highest level in today’s NFL without a very good or elite quarterback. Seven of the eight teams that reached the Divisional Round of last season’s playoffs started a quarterback who was a first-round pick. The top-three QBs in the AFC — Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen — all were first-rounders. Mahomes and Allen were top 10 picks.

Here are the final predictions for the Patriots’ first-round pick, based on recent expert mock drafts.

Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Connor Rogers, NBC Sports: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

The Athletic’s NFL Staff: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Matt Miller, ESPN: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Jordan Reid, ESPN: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Trevor Sikkema, Pro Football Focus: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Eric Edholm, NFL Network: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Charles Davis, NFL Network: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Jason La Canfora, Washington Post: J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: Jayden Daniels, QB, The Ringer

Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia at No. 11; Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State at No. 23 (mock trade: Patriots send No. 3 to Vikings for No. 11, No. 23 and a 2025 first-rounder

Walter Football: Drake Maye, QB, UNC

Ian Valentino, The 33rd Team: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

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