The Patriots made an out-of-nowhere move Thursday when they announced Alex Van Pelt will be the team’s new offensive coordinator.

New England filled out Jerod Mayo’s coaching staff, and the early impression of the former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator was positive as the Patriots looked to move in a different direction after Bill Belichick parted ways with the franchise.

It’s not uncommon for coaches to recruit players they are familiar with, and Van Pelt could try to do that too, especially if New England chooses to take a quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. He reportedly will have a “heavy hand” in the QB search, and four candidates who have a close connection to him come to mind if the Patriots want to sign a signal-caller.

Jacoby Brissett
This was a name that came up right away for a lot of people. The former New England quarterback worked with Van Pelt while at the Browns during the 2022 season. It’s unknown if Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe will stick around, but the Patriots were rumored for veteran options last offseason, and a reunion with Brissett makes too much sense.

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Baker Mayfield
The Buccaneers likely will re-sign Mayfield after he led them to a wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles. But if he doesn’t stick around Tampa Bay, he could pay off past rumors of interest with New England. Mayfield would be a perfect bridge starter for a rookie quarterback, and if New England went with Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 3, that could help the offense better. Fans might see this as a half-measure, though, and it’s unknown how much the asking price would increase to if the former Browns quarterback entered the open market.

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Jeff Driskel
The 30-year-old had two stints with Van Pelt. He worked with him during his rookie season at the Cincinnati Bengals and this season at Cleveland. This would be a classic veteran backup move and nothing more. If New England’s season hits the fan like it did in 2023, Driskel would be the perfect face under center to protect a rookie quarterback.

Andy Dalton
Let’s have some fun and imagine Dalton in a Patriots uniform. It would make for a fun anecdote to his interesting career, and he can be a capable passer under the right circumstances. This is similar to the Mayfield option but with someone much older. If the rookie quarterback the Patriots were to draft isn’t ready right away, why not throw Dalton out there? Let’s be real, it would take a miraculous offseason for New England to become a contender right away. The former Bengals quarterback can provide some entertainment following a season where none was found.

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