The NFL draft combine is behind us, which means the league’s silly season is in full effect — with the Patriots right in the middle.

Eliot Wolf, Jerod Mayo and the rest of the New England football operation have no shortage of options as they hold the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Free agency is also rapidly approaching, and with a major need at QB, it seems as if nothing is off the table.

If reports that the Patriots want to draft a QB at No. 3 are true, the prevailing belief is that New England likely would take the remaining option from this consensus trio of top QBs: Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels. However,’s Albert Breer wrote Monday he thinks Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy could be someone the Patriots are seriously contemplating drafting.

“It sounds like the Patriots are exploring all their options at quarterback,” Breer wrote. “So it’s fair to consider Mayfield there. I also wouldn’t totally dismiss the idea of McCarthy, maybe in a trade-down scenario or even at No. 3.”

Story continues below advertisement

There was certainly plenty of buzz around the Michigan quarterback at the combine this weekend.

“He is talented, he is a good athlete, we just didn’t see all of it in college. GMs are intrigued about how much he can actually do,” NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said Saturday on NFL Network. “… It seems clear now we have a top three of quarterbacks. There is a real chance that some teams consider him to be the third and consider him closer to be closer to the top three than maybe we realized.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

McCarthy had mixed results on the field this weekend, though. He didn’t run or jump, but he did throw. The arm strength got passing grades, but he did miss on some throws, especially to his left. That’s going to be the big issue for McCarthy, who wasn’t called on to sling it much at Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines went on to win the national championship.

Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh, who coached McCarthy at Michigan, raised some eyebrows when he said his QB would be the first off the board in April. That might not be the case, but he might shoot up some rankings across the league.

Story continues below advertisement

Perhaps that includes the Patriots. New England, as Breer suggests, could potentially trade out of that third selection if it covets McCarthy and believes he could tumble a bit. That might be the best-case scenario if they end up enamored with McCarthy.

If that is the case, it could still make sense to sign a veteran quarterback and let McCarthy — or any rookie — sit for a while. Wolf certainly knows that strategy from his time in Green Bay, and the Patriots are being increasingly tied to free agent signal-callers, especially Baker Mayfield.

Of course, every morsel of news must be taken with a grain of salt at this point in the process. Everyone — from executives to agents — are trying to manipulate the news cycle to promote the narrative they believe is most beneficial to them. So be careful out there.

Featured image via Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports Images