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USA Today Sports Media Group
Jess Root

Patriots pass on QB in new mock draft

The NFL draft is in less than three weeks away and rumors and speculation will continue to be crazy. While the predominating belief is that three quarterbacks will be selected with the first three picks of the draft and maybe four in the first four, the New England Patriots are always a bit of a wild card.

In this new mock draft, I look at what could happen if the Patriots are not sold on the available quarterbacks and decide to pass on one with the third overall.

That leads to some shifting around in the top 10.

Here is my latest mock draft.

1. Bears: USC QB Caleb Williams

Syndication: USA TODAY

No need to crazy with a wild pick here. The Bears are going to select Williams.

2. Commander: LSU QB Jayden Daniels

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Heisman winner has the arm and the legs. He can bring the same excitement to the Commanders than Robert Griffin III did more than a decade ago.

3. Patriots: Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

Nov 18, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) pushes off Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Devon Williams (9) as he runs down the field during the first half of their game on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at Ohio Stadium.

Here is the first curveball of the draft. The Pats have a rookie head coach and signed Jacoby Brissett, a serviceable starter. They have an awful receiver room.

If they aren’t sold on North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, then rather than force a quarterback selection, why not take the best offensive weapon and arguably bet player in the draft to have in place for Brissett now and for the quarterback they like more later?

4. (TRADE) Vikings: North Carolina QB Drake Maye

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here is where things start to go crazy. Arizona, prepared to select Harrison, trades their pick to the Vikings. The Vikings give them their two first-round picks (No. 11, 23) and a third in 2025 so they can move up and take Maye.

5. (TRADE) Broncos: Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) warms up during the spring game Saturday, April 1, 2023 at Michigan Stadium.

The Broncos, excited that McCarthy is on the board still, move on up to get him. They send the Chargers, who want to trade back to land a tackle, the 12th pick, 76th pick and 2025 first and second-round picks to go up to No. 5.

The Broncos get McCarthy, making four QBs the pick in the first five selections.

6. Giants: LSU WR Malik Nabers

Malik Nabers 8 as the LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 25, 2023.

The Giants are thrilled that Nabers is available and immediately improve the receiver room.

7. Titans: Notre Dame OT Joe Alt

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

This feels like a lock of a pick here with the quarterbacks and receivers going before him. The Titans need to protect Will Levis.

8. Falcons: UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons taking a pass rusher is also a common mock projection. Will it be Dallas Turner or Laiatu Latu? Here, we say Latu.

9. Bears: Washington WR Rome Odunze

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

This works out perfectly for the Bears. They already have D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen. They now add Odunze, giving Williams a full arsenal of weapons along with tight end Cole Kmet to be successful as a rookie.

10. Jets: Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) runs after a catch during the third quarter as Auburn Tigers take on Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.

The Jets need a player who could come in and produce as a rookie with their roster built to win now. Bowers is the safest pick at this spot. They could use a tackle but also filled their tackle spots in free agency.

11. (from mock trade) Cardinals: Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

By trading back, the Cardinals lose out on the top three receivers but have their eyes on another later in the first round. They get Turner to bolster their anemic pass rush with the prospect that made Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort shimmy and dance.

12. (from mock trade with Broncos) Chargers: Oregon State OT Taliese Fuaga

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers land a tackle to help protect Justin Herbert and added a pick in the third round and two picks in 2025 with this move.

13. Las Vegas Raiders: Illinois DL Johnny Newton

Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders lose out on the top pass rushers and quarterbacks, so they give new coach Antonio Pierce a big, dominant player for the middle of the defensive interior.

14. Saints: Toledo CB Quinyon Mitchell

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints get arguably the best cornerback in the draft here at No. 14.

15. Colts: Iowa CB Cooper DeJean

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts get a young, athletic cornerback for the second straight year after getting Julius Brents last year.

16. Seahawks: Florida State EDGE Jared Verse

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Verse falls a little bit but that ends with the Seahawks, who have not had a great pass rusher off the edge in years.

17. Jaguars: Washington OL Troy Fautanu

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence had his last season derailed by being banged up all year. Adding Fautanu will help protect him.

18. Bengals: Texas DL Byron Murphy Jr.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals lost D.J. Reader. Now they get Murphy to replace him.

19. Rams: Alabama CB Terrion Arnold

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Arnold falling all the way to No. 19? Someone surprising falls every year, and the Rams are the beneficiary. They will need a better secondary to make up for the retirement of Aaron Donald up front.

20. Steelers: Penn State OT Olu Fashanu

Oct 21, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end JT Tuimoloau (44) goes up against Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) during the third quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium.

The Steelers went out and added quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Here they add protection.

21. Dolphins: Alabama OT JC Latham

Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News

The Dolphins can plug Latham in immediately at right tackle like the Cardinals did with Paris Johnson in 2023.

22. Eagles: Clemson CB Nate Wiggins

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles need secondary help. They get it in the athletic Wiggins.

23. (from mock Vikings trade): Texas WR Adonai Mitchell

Texas Longhorns wide receivers Adonai Mitchell (5) and Xavier Worthy (1) celebrate a touchdown by Mitchell during the Big 12 Championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Arlington.

The Cardinals don’t just need a good receiver. They need an alpha in the room. They lack that right now. Missing out on Harrison, Nabers and Odunze at the top of the draft, even with a deep receiver class in terms of talent, there aren’t many true No. 1 guys. Mitchell is the best bet as that guy. So the Cardinals get a stud pass rusher and a guy who could be a stud receiver as well.

24. Cowboys: Georgia OT Amarius Mims

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys need to rebuild the offensive line and Mims is a good one to start with, plugging him in at right tackle as a rookie.

25. Packers: Duke OL Graham Barton

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Barton played left tackle at Duke but will probably play inside in the pros. But he also gives the Packers versatility.

26. Buccaneers: Oregon C Jackson Powers-Johnson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs get a center who could be in the top five at his position as a rookie.

27. Cardinals: Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cardinals end up with three picks in the first round, they will likely deal one for a veteran or trade back out of the round.

But here they add a cornerback to their team.

A starting trio of McKinstry, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Garrett Williams feels pretty good.

28. Bills: LSU WR Brian Thomas

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Having dealt Stefon Diggs to the Texans, Buffalo might trade up for a receiver. But they will be happy to select Thomas, who is long and speedy.

29. Lions: Iowa State CB T.J. Tampa

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa could sneak into the first round. He would make a nice pick for the Lions.

30. Ravens: Texas WR Xavier Worthy

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Worthy’s 4.21-second 40 at the combine push him into the first round. Adding him to an offense that includes Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews will be scary.

31. 49ers: Oklahoma OT Tyler Guyton

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

They have Colton McKivitz at right tackle but Guyton might be able to unseat him in the starting lineup as a rookie.

32. Chiefs: Georgia WR Ladd McConkey

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

They added Hollywood Brown in free agency and have Rashee Rice, but Patrick Mahomes with more weapons

More Cardinals, NFL coverage

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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