You can’t overstate how important the 2024 NFL Draft is to the Patriots, who haven’t won a playoff game since the 2018 season and haven’t picked this high in over 30 years.

Such a scenario would be pretty daunting to any decision-marker in the league, let alone a first-year head coach. But Jerod Mayo doesn’t sound very nervous about the upcoming three-day stretch that could change the course of New England’s franchise.

Speaking with season-ticket holders last weekend, Mayo provided some insight into how the Patriots are approaching the No. 3 pick in the draft. In Mayo’s eyes, New England is in a can’t-lose spot.

“Eliot (Wolf), has the final decision, but at the same time, there’s a lot that goes into that final decision,” Mayo said. “It’s kind of like a call sheet. You get to a game with a call sheet, it’s really already done. There’s no bad play on a call sheet. The one benefit of being at three is that if we like the top five quarterbacks, we’ll have our pick at No. 3. It doesn’t really matter — that’s kind of how we’re looking at it.”

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Of course, one “play” on that call sheet doesn’t involve making a pick. Mayo has made it clear the Patriots are open to trading down, and since the Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders appear settled on their draft-opening selections, New England could reap the benefits of a team eager to move up.

So, the Patriots will leave Round 1 of the upcoming draft with either a blue-chip prospect or a replenished arsenal of capital. There’s no guarantee an incoming player will pan out or new picks parlay into franchise-altering talents, but it’s easy to understand why Mayo feels great about his team’s spot.

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