The New England Patriots own the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft — and that’s where the real fun could begin.

Of course, the Chicago Bears could trade out of the No. 1 spot if they believe in quarterback Justin Fields. But it’s long been expected that USC quarterback Caleb Williams and North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye will be the first two selections this April, leaving No. 3 as a Day 1 crossroads.

So, who will the Patriots choose in the first round?

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They, too, are candidates to trade back, a scenario that could depend on how they view the current QB class and the various holes in their roster. But if they stick at No. 3, Colin Cowherd expects New England to land LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

Cowherd offered his “guess” for the top 10 picks during Wednesday’s episode of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” He predicted Williams will go No. 1 to Chicago, Maye will go No. 2 to the Washington Commanders and Daniels will go No. 3 to New England.

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This is intriguing for several reasons, the biggest being that New England desperately needs a quarterback after another underwhelming year with Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. The jury is out on Daniels’ NFL potential, but he was a dynamic talent in college, hence his season-ending hardware.

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There’s also the Bill Belichick factor. The Patriots parted ways with Belichick on Thursday, one day after Cowherd gave his predictions, and it’ll be fascinating to see how New England’s next general manager and coach approach the draft.

It’ll also be interesting to see where Belichick lands and what that means for his new team’s offseason strategy. If Belichick joins the Atlanta Falcons, for instance, would they be more inclined to target a veteran quarterback (like Fields or Kirk Cousins) than draft a QB like Bo Nix?

Clearly, there are a ton of layers involved. And the Patriots’ decision at No. 3 could have a massive ripple effect on how Round 1 shakes out.

Featured image via Kris Craig/The Providence Journal via USA TODAY Sports Images