The New England Patriots are in a rebuilding position this offseason, though that process can be rapidly expedited with proper personnel decisions.

That begins with arguably the Patriots’ most important asset: the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Patriots have several holes to fill, particularly on offense, in order to return to legitimate contention. While talented receivers and steady offensive line protection are also going to be, the NFL now more than ever is a quarterback league. If New England wants to return to a competitive level, the franchise needs a fresh start with a young talent at quarterback.

For several reasons, both internally and externally, the Patriots have to do the right thing for the franchise and draft a quarterback with the No. 3 pick.

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AFC Is Built On First-Rounders
In order to get back to their winning ways, the Patriots have to find a way to stack up against the elite competition of the AFC. As a whole, the top dogs of the conference are all experiencing the benefits of investing in a first-round quarterback to open a competitive window.

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The Cincinnati Bengals took Joe Burrow and went to a Super Bowl. Josh Allen has led the Buffalo Bills to four straight AFC East titles. Lamar Jackson brought the Baltimore Ravens to the AFC Championship Game as a two-time NFL MVP.

Then there’s Patrick Mahomes, who has quarterbacked the league’s newest dynasty in the Kansas City Chiefs while setting himself up to potentially go down as the best to ever play the position.

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Elsewhere, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence have bright futures with their respective teams, all after being committed as first-round picks.

Free Agents Provide Short-Term Fill
Sometimes in the NFL, a veteran quarterback is through free agency.

Just ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who signed Tom Brady and earned three straight playoff berths, including a win in Super Bowl LV.

Some teams are just that veteran quarterback away and should make short-term investments. Pro Bowlers such as Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins provide those fills this offseason.

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Given where the Patriots stand, the free-agent route at quarterback does not make sense for their situation.

New England needs to keep building and would benefit from doing so around a young quarterback rather than adding a veteran as the missing piece of the puzzle, which is far from complete for the Patriots.

If the Patriots did sign a free-agent quarterback, they are simply pushing back the inevitable of having to draft a new passer when the veteran retires in a shorter period.

Earning this high of a draft pick is rare for the Patriots, who are not guaranteed access to young quarterback talent again. With this opportunity, New England has to take advantage.

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This Draft Class Has Elite Top Tier
Some quarterback classes aren’t worth using prime capital on.

That doesn’t seem to be the case for the Patriots in 2024.

With the No. 3 overall pick, New England is guaranteed the chance to pick one of the top three quarterbacks available between Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels. All three of those players can be special in the NFL, potentially for the Patriots.

Williams can make any throw and has drawn Mahomes-like comparisons. Maye is a real athlete who compares to another talented AFC quarterback. Daniels is a legitimate dual-threat that could bring incredible production to the Patriots.

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Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images