The Patriots have been linked to three quarterbacks throughout the draft process, which is why a certain reported pre-draft visit raised eyebrows for fans.

New England reportedly will meet Michael Penix Jr. a week before the 2024 NFL Draft. Fans and analysts sometimes read too much into pre-draft visits, but this reported meeting was interesting since the Washington product is projected to be a Day 2 pick or a late first-round pick at best.

Jerod Mayo and director of scouting Eliot Wolf were open about potentially trading the third overall pick, though the Patriots head coach revealed it would take a “bag” from another team. That supported the idea that it could take more than three first-round picks to trade down, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer said on NBC Sports Boston on Wednesday that the Patriots’ pre-draft visit with Penix was a “late add.” The NFL insider theorized that Mayo, Wolf and the rest of New England’s staff are doing homework on prospects who could be available if the team traded out of the No. 3 pick.

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The Patriots need a quarterback, but their roster also has other flaws. Drafting a quarterback later in the first round or on Day 2 of the draft could be a strategy the Patriots consider, especially if they’re not convinced the quarterback who falls to No. 3 can be a franchise guy.

New England still expressed interest in the top quarterbacks in the class, but it’s clear it will keep its options open until next week’s draft.

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