The Patriots are expected to select UNC quarterback Drake Maye with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday, but the party might not stop there.

New England is looking to work deep into the night.

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo, speaking at a fan event at Gillette Stadium, teased quite the collection of moves as he addressed the Foxboro Faithful on Thursday.

“We’re going to get a good player at No. 3, and look, it’s going to be early but we can always get back into the first round, too,” Mayo said, per Cameron Wolfe of NFL Media. “So stick around.”

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Maye, or whoever New England picks, will undoubtedly be the biggest domino to fall in New England’s extremely young rebuild, but we’re going to have to wait and see which direction it goes. He could be the savior, but there’s always a chance he flops like his predecessor.

If the Patriots want to help push him in the right direction, it might just start by following Mayo’s tease.

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It’s expected that there will be a run on wide receivers and offensive tackles in the first round, which are the two positions New England should focus on once the quarterback is in hand. If the Patriots want to guarantee themselves a shot at one of the big guns at those two positions, they could trade back into the first round to snag one. It’s been done plenty before, and takes surprisingly little to jump the line for that glorious fifth-year option.

The Minnesota Vikings moved up in 2014, sending picks No. 40 and No. 108 to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the final pick of the first round, where they chose Teddy Bridgewater. The Baltimore Ravens executed a similar deal in 2018, taking Lamar Jackson after sending picks No. 52, No. 125, and a future second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for No. 32 and No. 132.

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It doesn’t always have to be the No. 32 pick, though. The Los Angeles Chargers traded up to No. 23 to draft linebacker Kenneth Murray back in 2020, sending picks No. 37 and No. 76 back to the Patriots.

New England should have an opportunity to pull off something similar Thursday, if that truly is their prerogative. 

The Detroit Lions have made it clear they’re willing to listen to offers, so why wouldn’t they be willing to give up the No. 29 pick for something like No. 34 and No. 103? It would allow the Patriots to jump the Kansas City Chiefs for a wide receiver, while giving the Lions more ammo. The Arizona Cardinals have a penchant for making draft-day trades, so could New England possibly jump the Buffalo Bills and take a wideout at No. 27? It wouldn’t take much more than the Detroit package.

Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, Texas’ Adonai Mitchell and South Carolina’s Xavier Legette are all options at the backend of the first round.

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It’s never a good idea to assume these sorts of trades are on the horizon, but Mayo isn’t helping us ignore the noise with that sort of tease.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images