Eliot Wolf might have said all options are on the table regarding the New England Patriots quarterback position. But if you really listened to the messaging from New England’s de facto general manager, he sounded like someone ready to draft a quarterback.

“I think it’s a really good year for quarterbacks,” Wolf told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, per the Patriots.

Wolf, New England’s director of scouting, said he will make the final call on draft night. He might not hold the title of general manager, but it sounds like he’s making the decisions.

Wolf proceeded to point out a trend in the league. It might have telegraphed his late-April decision.

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“When you look throughout the league, most of the quarterbacks are first-rounders,” Wolf said, pointing out exceptions like fourth-rounder Dak Prescott, Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy and sixth-round GOAT Tom Brady. “The league-wide understanding of how important that position is and how important it is to have somebody to help you win games and get over the hump has changed league-wide.”

Wolf also shared what he was looking for in a quarterback. He spoke glowingly about the toughness of the quarterbacks in this year’s class. It’s one thing that has “excited” him about the group.

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“We have to determine who can handle being the quarterback of the New England Patriots,” Wolf said.

Wolf said having a quarterback that teammates want to play for is “extremely underrated.” He pointed out the obvious leadership skillset and physical talent, too.

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But then Wolf dropped another characteristic. He said it was “very important” to him. His words caused many to think he was taking a shot at Mac Jones.

“Body language on the field at that position is very important,” Wolf said. “You don’t want a guy that’s throwing his hands up after a bad play or you can see him physically pointing at somebody.”

Jones came under fire for his terrible body language during the 2022 campaign when Matt Patricia called plays. That problem surfaced again in 2023 before Jones lost his job to Bailey Zappe. Zappe was drafted 137th overall in 2022, not exactly the first-round talent Wolf has seen others around the league target.

Wolf said the Patriots will handle the respective situations of Jones and Zappe internally. He did not confirm whether or not either would return for the Patriots or if either would serve as the starter.

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But based on various comments from Wolf, it’s fair to think the Patriots won’t be putting much stock into either one of them.

Wolf told reporters in Indianapolis the Patriots will meet with top quarterback prospects Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels during the combine this week.

Wolf, first-year head coach Jerod Mayo and director of player personnel Matt Groh will collaborate during the draft process. They’re just getting started on it, Wolf admitted. But it’s clear the Patriots know what they want in a quarterback, and it feels like they’ll use a first-round pick in order to land one of the top prospects.

Featured image via Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports Images