It’s long been believed the New England Patriots would have to settle for whichever of the top three quarterback prospects falls to them. The Patriots aren’t set to be on the clock until No. 3 overall, giving the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders first dibs on the signal-callers they want.

Caleb Williams is the clear favorite to go to Chicago at No. 1 overall. The expectation was the Commanders would draft either Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye with the next pick. Those three quarterbacks have continued to be the consensus top three in the eyes of many draft experts.

Washington, however, could throw a wrench into the mix. That scenario came to the forefront Monday afternoon when NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported on Washington’s perceived interest in J.J. McCarthy.

“When I’ve had conversations here, with executives from other teams, who know Adam Peters well, know the situation well, the most popular answer for what they do at No. 2 is J.J. McCarthy,” Pelissero said during NFL Network’s coverage from the annual league meetings.

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Should the Commanders indeed draft McCarthy, the Patriots would have their choice between Daniels and Maye at No. 3 overall. It has not felt like it could be the case until Monday. And should the Patriots be interested in both Daniels and Maye, who bring different skillsets to the table, it would be an obvious benefit to draft the player they prefer.

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo on Monday morning didn’t dive into which quarterback New England prefererred, to no surprise. Mayo instead shared he’s been impressed by five or six quarterbacks, all of whom he believes could become starters in the league.

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The Patriots, though, could also opt to trade out of the third slot. Mayo kept the door open and said New England would have to consider it if another team threw a “bag” at the Patriots. If both Daniels and Maye are indeed on the board when the Patriots are on the clock, perhaps it triggers a team to make an offer New England can’t refuse.

Featured image via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images